IC3, the FBI’s cyber crime center, is warning the public to be cautious of romance scams in which scammers target individuals looking for love or friendship online.
Scammers prowl chat rooms, dating sites and social networking sites looking for victims, who typically are 40 years old and divorced, widowed, elderly or disabled.
To reel in victims, scammers use poetry, flowers and other gifts, all while declaring their “undying love,” IC3 said in a release. The fraudsters also tell tales of severe life circumstances, tragedies, deaths in the family, injuries to themselves or other hardships to keep their victims concerned and involved in their schemes.
Victims who have agreed to meet with an online love interest have been reported missing or injured, even dead, in one instance.
IC3 complainants most often report the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, England and Canada as the location of the scammers.