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The website lists red flags to look for to identify such predators, who urgently appeal to victims for money to cover financial setbacks like unexpected fines, money lost to robbery or unpaid wages.Most victims say they are embarrassed to admit what happened, and they fear that revealing it will bring derision from their family and friends, who will question their judgment and even their ability to handle their own financial affairs."It makes me sound so stupid, but he would be calling me in the evening and at night. We had plans to go to the Bahamas and to Bermuda together," says Louise Brown.But as Valentine’s Day gets closer, the FBI wants to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams..These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.Whatever else may result from the hack attack, it sent consumers' perceptions about e Harmony into the cellar, as determined by a Consumer Affairs sentiment analysis of about 140,000 social media postings over the last year.e Harmony sentiment seems to have profited from e Harmony's downfall, showing a distinct uptick over the last few weeks, as determined by a Consumer Affairs sentiment analysis of about 110,000 social media postings. Cook, a church secretary in Virginia, had been a widow for a decade when she joined an Internet dating site and was quickly overcome by a rush of emails, phone calls and plans for a face-to-face visit.
Although she said she was 32 years old, the pictures she sent appeared to be of a much younger woman.Unusually for someone her age, Aleksandra had no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.In fact, there were no online traces of her at all."I'm not stupid, but I was totally naïve," says Cook, now 76, who was swept off her feet by a man who called himself Kelvin Wells and described himself as a middle-aged German businessman looking for someone "confident" and "outspoken" to travel with him to places like Italy, his "dream destination." But very soon he began describing various troubles, including being hospitalized in Ghana, where he had gone on business, and asked Cook to bail him out.In all, she sent him nearly 0,000, as he apparently followed a well-honed script that online criminals use to bilk members of dating sites out of tens of millions of dollars a year." According to the Times internet scammers are targeting women in their 50s and 60s, often retired and living alone, who say that the email and phone wooing forms a bond that may not be physical but that is intense and enveloping. 31, 2014, nearly 6,000 people registered complaints of such confidence fraud with losses of .3 million, according to the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center.