She responded by reporting him to the local sheriff and the FBI. The authorities never recovered her money, and she was forced to take out loans to live. alone, romance scammers sweet-talked 5,900 victims out of more than $86.7 million in 2014.
The widow's story is a classic case of a romance scam. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, as romance scams are grossly underreported.
published a disturbing story about a 53-year-old California grandmother and widow who had gotten swept up in one of the oldest cons in the book: the sweetheart swindle. In no time at all, she received a message from a man going by the name of John, who claimed to be a 60-year-old widowed engineer from Colorado. He showered her with compliments, charmed her, and declared that she was "the one." Months later, John said that he had to make a business trip to Africa.
He was rocked by a series of emergencies soon after.
But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.