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“And once a victim becomes a victim, in that they send money, they will often be placed on what’s called a ‘sucker list,’ ” she said.
“Their names and identities are shared with other criminals, and they may be targeted in the future.”To stay safe online, be careful what you post, because scammers can use that information against you.
She even holds out hope that one day Charlie will repay her, as he promised to do so many times. there can’t be a man in this world that could be this horrible to have purposefully done what he’s done to me.” The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do.
Otherwise, there is no doubt that he is a heartless criminal who robbed her and broke her heart—and who is almost certainly continuing to victimize other women in the same way.“I can’t even imagine a man, a person, that could be this bad,” she said. They spend hours honing their skills and sometimes keep journals on their victims to better understand how to manipulate and exploit them.“Behind the veil of romance, it’s a criminal enterprise like any other,” said Special Agent Christine Beining.
"It just makes it so much easier for people to connect without ever meeting in person, and sort of as a result, never really verifying that the other person is who they say they are." In the latest twist, reported on the next episode of CNBC's "American Greed," con artists are exploiting Americans' respect for the military. Moving your relationship from virtual to real is a big step. If you are not yet comfortable meeting your new friend in person, Hood says to at least try to move away from the confines of the dating site by getting their email address or connecting on Facebook. "If you start getting, 'I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with that yet,' it doesn't mean that they're a scammer, but in my mind it would raise some red flags," Hood said.
A part of her still wants to believe that Charlie is real and that their relationship was real—that the e-mail exchanges about church and the phone calls when they sang together and prayed together meant as much to him as they did to her.
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.
“The perpetrators will reach out to a lot of people on various networking sites to find somebody who may be a good target.
Then they use what the victims have on their profile pages and try to work those relationships and see which ones develop.” The subsequent investigation led by Beining resulted in the arrest of two Nigerians posing as South African diplomats who had come to the U. to collect money from the woman on behalf of Charlie, who claimed he was paid million for a construction project he completed in South Africa.