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“The Internet makes this type of crime easy because you can pretend to be anybody you want to be.
You can be anywhere in the world and victimize people,” she said.
“It’s not just the finances, it’s the emotional part, too—being embarrassed, being ashamed, being humiliated.” Even now, though, she remains conflicted.
A part of her still wants to believe that Charlie is real and that their relationship was real—that the e-mail exchanges about church and the phone calls when they sang together and prayed together meant as much to him as they did to her.
“The perpetrators will reach out to a lot of people on various networking sites to find somebody who may be a good target.
Then they use what the victims have on their profile pages and try to work those relationships and see which ones develop.” The subsequent investigation led by Beining resulted in the arrest of two Nigerians posing as South African diplomats who had come to the U. to collect money from the woman on behalf of Charlie, who claimed he was paid million for a construction project he completed in South Africa.
It could be the love of your life, or it could be an individual involved in an organized criminal ring, perhaps in a Nigerian or Russian boiler room.
“Their names and identities are shared with other criminals, and they may be targeted in the future.”To stay safe online, be careful what you post, because scammers can use that information against you.
Always use reputable websites, but assume that con artists are trolling even the most reputable dating and social media sites.