Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams,” it still represents just the tip of the iceberg.
The scammer might say that an immediate family member has a medical emergency and needs money for treatment, or that he has been wrongly arrested and needs help with bail money and legal support.
“There was one woman who got scammed for over a million dollars, her whole retirement nest egg,” Farquhar says.
The CR survey found that 35 percent of respondents who’ve tried online dating felt they had been grossly misled by someone’s online profile, and 12 percent said they’d been scammed.
Experts say online daters are always wise to be skeptical regarding what someone they’ve met online, and not in the flesh, tells them.
Most dating websites—even ones that cost money—don’t vet the people who sign up.