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“He was saying all the right things,” she remembered. It’s called a romance scam, and this devastating Internet crime is on the rise. The woman, in her 50s and struggling in her marriage, was happy to find someone to chat with. He was very positive, and I felt like there was a real connection there.”That connection would end up costing the woman million and an untold amount of heartache after the man she fell in love with—whom she never met in person—took her for every cent she had.If you cash them or deposit them into your account, Money Orders or checks will come back after few weeks as fraudulent and you will be responsible for paying back the money to the bank and sometimes even charged for passing counterfeit instrument.There is also a re-shipping scam, when they will ask you to re-ship goods for them.Victims—predominantly older widowed or divorced women targeted by criminal groups usually from Nigeria—are, for the most part, computer literate and educated. And con artists know exactly how to exploit that vulnerability because potential victims freely post details about their lives and personalities on dating and social media sites.Trolling for victims online “is like throwing a fishing line,” said Special Agent Christine Beining, a veteran financial fraud investigator in the FBI’s Houston Division who has seen a substantial increase in the number of romance scam cases.
Needless to say, those Money Orders or checks are no good, and not even worth the paper they're printed on.“When someone is using a computer to hide behind, the hardest thing to find out is who they are.We can find out where in the world their computer is being used.It’s identifying who they actually are that’s the hard part.That is why this individual remains a fugitive.”It also explains why romance scams are on the rise: It’s a lucrative and easy crime to commit, and easier still to remain anonymous and beyond the reach of authorities.