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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.
They may even send you a large number of seemingly legitimate legal documents to sign, such as power of attorney documents.
“It’s not just the finances, it’s the emotional part, too—being embarrassed, being ashamed, being humiliated.” Even now, though, she remains conflicted.
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.
“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.
“He was saying all the right things,” she remembered. It’s called a romance scam, and this devastating Internet crime is on the rise.