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(That was 2,500 more reports than the previous year.) The states with the most victims were California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.
Individual losses are higher than in other scams due to the nature of the crime, according to the FBI.
A Texas woman in her fifties was trapped in an abusive marriage. He was having trouble completing a construction project in California and asked for a loan of ,000, which he promised to pay back right away. By the time her alarmed financial adviser convinced her to contact the FBI two years later, she had sent Charlie million – her entire life’s savings. Like other women seduced by a romance scam, the Texas woman was sick with shame and humiliation.
In a particularly sinister variation of the scam, a “suitor” convinces a woman in love to disrobe for him on Skype or other communications he can videotape.He then blackmails the victim by threatening to release the videos or photos on Facebook or email unless she pays him off.In another variation, the scammer “confesses” he is part of a scam to bilk people out of money, but insists he has fallen in love with the victim.“There can’t be a man this horrible, to do what he did to me,” she told FBI investigators.This heartache – and financial ruin – is all too common in romance scams, according to the FBI.
“I was mortified,” she told reporters from the Toronto Star and CTV W-5. I thought, ‘This can’t be happening.’” Men have also been victimized. And as Leeman can attest, it’s a scam in which trust, vulnerability and a longing for love are heartlessly exploited.