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Looking for Love
Jenifer McAndrews Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
April 28, 2013
By: Jenifer McAndrews

EYEWITNESS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO


The surge in online dating holds an important warning: be weary of con-artists and certainly be cautious before any money is exchanged.

Mary does not want us to use her last name. She started an online relationship with a man on a social networking site. He said he was stuck in Nigeria and asked her to help him by sending him money to fly home.

Mary says, “It started out pretty small the money that he needed … and it just escalated.” But there always seemed to be an excuse as to why “he” never returned and always needed more money. Mary ended up taking out loans to help the man and it just snowballed from there.

Since Mary was now out of money herself – her online connection had a new idea for how they could make some cash. It started with fraudulent credit cards the suspect sent to Mary. According to Postal Inspectors, Mary would then take those credit cards and make purchases at local retail stores. Investigators say she then took those items to pawn shops and sold them for cash. In all she wired more than $200,000 to the man in Nigeria.

Postal Inspectors say scams like these are growing as online dating sites increase in popularity. Conmen prey on people seeking relationships or companionship and end up manipulating and robbing victims.

Mary plead guilty for her role in this scam, and says she will think twice before starting any relationships online.



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