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Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported in 2016 on a woman who was sentenced to two years in prison for writing scripts for romance scams, including one in which the scammer claimed to be a widow whose husband was killed in the 9/11 attacks. Often they’ll start out by asking for a small amount, such as a few extra dollars for a child’s birthday present.Once they know the victim is hooked, they pretend to go through some kind of crisis that requires a large amount of cash to fix, such as a robbery, a medical or legal problem, a frozen bank account, or a business opportunity.
Then one day Eric called in a panic, saying his passport had been stolen.Some of the most successful scammers have extracted tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars from a single victim. Barb Sluppik, who runs the watchdog site Romance Scams.org, says in an interview with Consumer Reports that she’s worked with “men and women of all ages – doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry – who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do.” Even celebrities aren’t immune, as the world learned in 2012 when Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o discovered he’d spent two years in an online relationship with a woman who never existed.However, some people are more likely to be targeted than others. Jones, had not only his image but his entire identity stolen by scammers.They can spend months winning over their victims with regular conversations, long e-mails, poetry, gifts, and declarations of love – everything except face-to-face meetings.Often, they rely on pre-written scripts that tell them exactly what to say at what point in the relationship.
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The scammers admit that the romance started out as a con job, but claims that they’ve fallen in love with the victim.