In 2015, the last year for which data is available, consumers lost more than 0 million this way.(It is estimated that only 15 percent of fraud victims report their losses to law enforcement, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can't get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs romancescams.org, a watchdog site and online support group.Dating sites are only as good as their ability to make matches.And how they go about making those matches can be very different. D., is a professor at the Harvard Business School who was on the scientific advisory board of Ok Cupid.“They are all matching on obvious stuff, like age range," he says, "but they vary a good amount on how they consider other factors that might affect compatibility.”Sound vague? Online dating companies keep their proprietary algorithms closely guarded. An impostor poses as the perfect suitor, lures a victim into a romance, then proceeds to loot his or her finances.
In mid December the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—pled guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.
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Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.
This makes it hard for the victim to do due diligence.