Perpetrators use legitimate dating websites to defraud people looking for love out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, jewelry, electronics, and even plane tickets. I can assure you that if I can get this equipment, then I can make more money and we can be together.” Halpern: Believing they are in a relationship, some victims break the bank to help their Internet interest. Shamwell: Some of these victims are actually taking out second mortgages on their homes, they're using their retirement funds, they're doing reverse mortgages, things of that nature. Scammers often misrepresent their appearance—using photos that are edited or of others. A lot of individuals who have been victimized truly believe that they are in an actual caring and loving relationship, albeit in a very short period of time."Even in the last decade, so many more people meet other people online for the purpose of dating," said New York attorney Jonathan Hood, who has written extensively on internet fraud. Of course, the best way to tell if the person you are dealing with is real is to meet in person. "If they say, 'I'm not ready to meet you in person,' or 'I want to continue just chatting online,' that could be trouble," Hood said."It just makes it so much easier for people to connect without ever meeting in person, and sort of as a result, never really verifying that the other person is who they say they are." In the latest twist, reported on the next episode of CNBC's "American Greed," con artists are exploiting Americans' respect for the military. Moving your relationship from virtual to real is a big step. If you are not yet comfortable meeting your new friend in person, Hood says to at least try to move away from the confines of the dating site by getting their email address or connecting on Facebook. "If you start getting, 'I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with that yet,' it doesn't mean that they're a scammer, but in my mind it would raise some red flags," Hood said. But in fact, that person is a con artist who learned about your love for cats, or Jane Austen, or the U. The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center said in an alert earlier this year that users of social media and online dating sites should always assume that con artists are watching, and trolling for victims. Suddenly, you and your new online beau have an "uncanny" connection. Be careful about how much you reveal about yourself online.It could help stop a fraudster in his cruel and dastardly tracks.
Then, when you are finally all in, they spring their trap.
The number of victim complaints between June and December 2015 is more than 900 higher when compared to the same time the year before.
These are reported complaints, so the actual number confidence scams is expected to be much higher.
If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, report your concerns to the dating site.
Reputable sites will shut down accounts that are engaging in questionable activity.