Who are dating scammers

Where do the scammers get photos of themselves in these exotic locations and with these costly products? They troll other sites and steal other people's photos. Many are operating out of foreign countries, despite profiles saying they live nearby. When she declined, the messages got more desperate.

Budgyk knows this from experience: A Nigerian scammer lifted photos from Budgyk's profile. Their photographs are also likely of someone else, and that would be tough to explain in person. He sent heart-wrenching photos of a young girl, who appeared to be his daughter's age, hooked to a raft of medical monitors.

"When some 25-year-old girl is telling you that she's in love with you, you have to wonder why," he says. If a 25-year-old model is contacting a 50-year-old man, there's something wrong." Scammers look for vulnerable populations -- women and men in their 50s and 60s who are divorced or widowed and may feel rejected or past their prime.

"You see this communication and think, 'Oh my gosh, I must be more attractive than I thought! They're also likely to target people with weight problems and those recovering from illnesses. Any of these issues might make you a bit more anxious about your ability to find love and potentially more receptive to the con.

Sh'reen Morrison had been on an online dating site for only a few weeks before she realized that something was seriously wrong with the man who had been actively pursuing her by text message and email.

They'd hit it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman in remote Yuma, Ariz.

But individuals who frequent them say scams are pervasive. Match.com, for instance, includes a disclaimer at the bottom of every onsite email between members, warning not to send money or provide credit card information to anyone you've met on the site.

There are no statistics saying just how common scammers are on dating sites.

She now examines photos of everyone who contacts her to see if she can match them in Google images to a real person. When reading an email, ask yourself whether the sentence structure strikes you as strange. Just as they were about to meet, he had a sudden emergency and had to fly to the Philippines, where his daughter was supposedly staying with a relative. Immediately after Kipps' date left for Manila, she started getting text messages about the emergency that sent him overseas.

A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud.

When Morrison suggested that her suitor put his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at home -- and even offered to pick the girl up at the airport -- a new crisis struck.

By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer.

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