Dating on line in nigeria
"How many people are out there thinking they found the love of their life and they have no clue what's happening? "The first thing most people say to me when they contact me is, 'I can't believe I was so stupid.' " Sweetheart scams appear to be on the rise, said Julie Ferguson, executive director of the Merchant Risk Council, which tracks scams for online retailers. "The stories are so-gut-wrenching sad." Some scammers seem to deliberately target groups set up for Christian singles, she said, where people may be less likely to be suspicious. Con artists will hunt for people's weaknesses, find out what they care about -- such as Grateful Dead music -- and then go in for the kill.
"When you are meeting someone else on a Christian site, you think you are safe." No dating site is immune from scams, said Jason Tarlowe, who operates Match Doctor.com, where Smalley met Richie. Sometimes, the online suitors don't even ask before sending money orders.
A new Yahoo group, "Romance Scams," was founded last month by Smalley and Barb Sluppick, who said she almost fell for a similar scam earlier this year.
Smalley said other would-be victims need to know about the perils of online matchmaking, and they need to listen to the little voices of hesitation and concern inside that she failed to heed. She's seen many varieties of romance scams, online and off.
"So much came back to me after all of this was done," she said. There's nothing new about charming men and women swindling would-be lovers, she said.
By Valentine's Day, Smalley received a box of chocolate candy, a teddy bear, and a helium balloon that said "I love you." Smalley, 46, was hooked, even though she had never met him.
Richie said he was from Milford, Mass., but that he was out of the country on a big construction job.
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