Dateline dating scam
Victim advocates say the true cost of romance scams is probably much higher than official estimates because victims, men in particular, often stay silent out of shame.
And in 2014, love-seekers and people who overshare on Facebook and other social media sites became the most common victims of cybercreeps, the report said.Shotwell said that the photos that her friends saw on Tinder were were images she had posted on Facebook, which she has since made private.In 2012, online dating scams — at least the ones that were reported — cost Americans more than $55 million, according to statistics from the multi-agency Internet Crime Complaint Center.Smalley agreed, and over the next two weeks, she cashed two $900 money orders and sent along the funds. 'My whole world had fallen apart' "The bank told me I was responsible for that money. Smalley shared her version of events with in the hopes that others might not fall for the same trickery.Then, Richie was ready to leave the country, but needed money to deal with a visa problem. I had to pay them $2,700, which was everything I had," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever known that this is all a part of an elaborate online scam. agencies have issued warnings on the scams, also known as "419" or "advance-fee" frauds.Still, she shrugged it off, until her friends sent her a screen shot of a girl named "Kim." “That is when it hit home, when I saw my face on a bio that had nothing to do with me,” Shotwell told NBC News.
Romance scams are nothing new, but the rise of social media has made it even easier for modern criminals to stitch together believable personas from publicly available photos and bits of information.
The popular dating app Tinder claims it has made more than 1 billion matches among its users since launching less than two years ago. Last month, Kristin Shotwell, 21, was walking home from class when her friend told her that he had seen her profile pop up on Tinder while visiting the University of Georgia in Athens.
There was one problem: Shotwell, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had been nowhere near Athens at the time and had never signed up for Tinder.
Richie's picture showed a jolly, bearded man curled up on a couch with a cat rubbing his face.
"Loving, caring and hardworking," the online dating profile said.
As soon as he returned, he promised, he'd come visit Smalley in Ohio. The spirited e-mail romance hummed along for another two months before there was a problem. Even after the bank told her the money orders had been altered — they were purchased for $20, but then "washed" and doctored to read $900 — she still held out hope.