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For the latest business news and markets data, please visit CNN Business. Inthe FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received 5, complaints from victims of so-called "romance scammers" -- criminals who scan online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites for potential victims.
In a typical con, the perpetrator will spend weeks or even months building up a romantic relationship with a victim through e-mails, texts or phone calls, before Dating scam format 2013 asking for money. And many of the scammers aren't even in the United States.
Related: Debt collection horror stories. For Best, it all started when she ed up for a free online dating site called mingle2. A man calling himself "John" messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust. He spoke Dating scam format 2013 what she thought was a British accent and his picture on Facebook portrayed a nice-looking man with graying hair and a beard.
In July, "John" told her that he was traveling to the United Kingdom to buy antiques for his store. At first, Best -- who juggles two part-time jobs working with developmentally-disabled adults and people with mental illness -- resisted, telling John she simply didn't have the money. But he persisted. Related iReport: The upside of online dating. But as he continued to push for money, Best realized something was off.
She searched Web forums, eventually finding another woman's story of a scammer with the same name. CNNMoney's attempts to reach "John" on his international phone provided by Best revealed that it was based out of Nigeria -- a hotbed for online scams -- and has since been disconnected. Attempts to call the U. Someone claiming to live in the U. Others will impersonate U. Some even claim they need money for medical expenses from combat injuries. Related: The lost art of offline dating.
The U. Army's Criminal Investigation Command says they receive hundreds of reports every month from people fooled by phony service members. And in recent months, the International Crime Complaint Center has warned of a new dating extortion scam where scammers bait members of online dating sites into intimate conversations, then threaten to expose them if they don't pay up.
Related: How to spot the danger s Dating scam format 2013 fraud. Be on guard. Be especially cautious with people you only know through online messages and phone calls. If possible, try Skype or video chat. Many scammers use fake photos to lure their victims but video messaging is much harder to fake. Be cautious if someone claims to be local but happens to be out of the country. Be your own detective. Use search engines to research the person's name and background. Look up their phone to see if it's listed in the region they claim to be from.
Don't send explicit messages or photos. Don't send anyone money. We're no longer maintaining this. Have you been the victim of a scam, dating or otherwise? E-mail melanie.
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Online Romance Scams: Relational Dynamics and Psychological Characteristics of the Victims and Scammers. A Scoping Review