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Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soulmate.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.."This is a concern not solely because people are losing large sums of money to these criminals, but also because of the psychological impact experienced by victims of this crime."It is our view that the trauma caused by this scam is worse than any other, because of the 'double hit' experienced by the victims - loss of monies and a 'romantic relationship'.Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake.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. First, he was traveling through India with his daughter.
Though the amounts and details of the scam vary from victim to victim, when it comes to romance scams, the con is almost always the same: The crook wants to get a besotted victim to wire money or provide access to a credit card.Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.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."The story was getting more and more bizarre," she says.