I had an online journal, because I love to journal, and I copied and pasted every conversation that we had into my online journal. For me, looking back now, it was very therapeutic, because I could write so much more than I could ever articulate in speech.
In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 21,000 reports about online romance scams, totaling $143 million in losses.
As the number of dating sites and social media apps has gone up, so too has the number of romance scams reported — from 17,000 in 2017, 11,000 in 2016, and 8,500 in 2015.
Online romance scammers work individually and in teams, often creating fake profiles using real people’s photographs in order to form close (if internet-based) relationships with unsuspecting victims, whom they eventually ask for money — because they’re overseas in the military, because they’re sick, because they’re trying to buy plane tickets home, etc.
Given victims’ presumed complicity in these scams (because, technically, their money is given voluntarily), and the resulting stigma, it’s likely that online relationship scams are much more prevalent than even FTC reports suggest.
So I figured well, heck, if it can work for them, then I can certainly try it.
I’d never heard of anybody being taken by an online romance, I’d only heard the good stuff.Did he tell you he was based in one place, or was he moving around all that time?He was in between Malaysia, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur — the hardwood trees were there and they were being shipped to India. So he set me up on a Yahoo chat, and we would talk for hours at a time.What was the timeline he gave you as far as when you might meet, or when his work would allow him to be in the United States again?The promise was if that when he finished up this job, which was very big, he was coming home.The Cut spoke to the victim of one such scam, Debby Montgomery Johnson, now 60, who lost more than a million dollars to a scammer between 20._________ How did you meet the man who would eventually scam you? I’d been married for almost 26 years, and he had a sudden heart attack and died. Lou left [for a short trip] on a Wednesday, and I got the call Thursday morning. Lou and I had been in the military, and when we went off on temporary duty, we always said “Good-bye, and see you soon.” It was kind of like that.