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“You pretend to be a victim and string them along, try to get them to waste as much of their time, money, and resources as you can,” he says.Mays would post any identifying details that scammers used online — from the email addresses they created to the back stories they recycled — to make them searchable. But for Mays, who co-hosts a scam-baiting podcast, “it’s also like improve comedy.” Most people aren’t turning to him for comic relief, though.“My friends advised me to go online and try to find someone to share my life with,” she says via Skype.
As for Firefly, she now refuses to date anyone she doesn’t meet the old-fashioned way, face to face.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime.
It’s not uncommon for victims to lose tens of thousands of dollars.
Five years ago, an Austrian woman decided to give online dating a try.
(She asked that I only use her internet handle, Firefly, for reasons that will soon become clear.) It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced.