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The scammers are nasty, heartless, ruthless people. They run into problems — maybe an incident on the job site, or an accident involving a teenage son.
But they're good at what they do."And the stories are all too often the same. And they need your money."The scammers are so experienced in what they do, because they do what they do on such a massive scale," Williams said.
For starters, plug their emails into a search engine."The bad guys do not reinvent the wheel," he said. It's how much money can we make, so how little can we put out?
"Scammers can counterfeit anything from dating site profiles to photos, email addresses, even seemingly official documents.
A couple months after the story ran, a reader named Nancy Mitchell read it and commented that she ran across such would-be scammers all the time. The best way to protect yourself from such scams to to remember the rest of Nancy's comment: “Bottom line, I wouldn't give money to people I KNOW, let alone some stranger.
Her description of a generic love-scammer sounded almost exactly like “John Hagen” from South Bend, Indiana: Engineer?
it's a type where people feel devastated for years afterwards," Williams said."It really can be heartbreaking."Williams urges victims to file a report with their local police department and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
And, as it turns out, what we find attractive in a profile doesn't sync up with what we go for in the real world."People have elaborate laundry lists of qualities they think they want in a partner, and they like online dating profiles that fit this laundry list," Eastwick said."However, upon a face-to-face meeting, most of this list goes out the window — people instead rely on their gut-level reaction to another person."The other problem, according to the research, is the emphasis placed on clients' similarities."To be sure, similarity on some dimensions, like race and religion, does predict relationship well-being," two of the study's co-authors wrote in The New York Times."However, the vast majority of people mate with demographically similar partners anyway, so such findings aren't especially useful in helping dating sites narrow a client's pool of potential partners."The Times piece goes on to say, "None of this suggests that online dating is any worse a method of meeting potential romantic partners than meeting in a bar or on the subway.
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"They're running the same scam with 1,000 people at the same time."If you don't pony up the cash, the con artist could use your racy photos or adult-themed conversations to extort the money from you."You should be sharing only information you'd be happy to share on a 35-foot billboard above your home," Williams said.
The scams are easy enough to dodge — all it takes is 15 minutes.