Romance scams cost nearly 5,900 victims more than .7 million last year, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.And state and federal agencies have shut down several large romance scams in recent months, including a case in which two South Africans and a Canadian were extradited to the U. on charges of bilking hundreds of Americans of millions of dollars through romance scams and other financial fraud schemes.
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That’s particularly true if they’ve been through difficult circumstances, such as divorce, losing a job, serious illness and other major losses, says Doug Shadel, a fraud researcher and director of AARP Washington.
It’s as if “their immune system to fraud” is weakened, Shadel said.
A car accident was followed by other emergencies that prevented him from coming home — and led to requests for more cash.