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Officials are warning consumers to be on the lookout for online dating scams. Scammers commonly target single women over the age of 40, wooing them with practiced words. They then ask the target to wire them money.
The federal government receives thousands of these complaints each month, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellyn Lindsay. Unfortunately, most of these online dating scams originate in Asia or Africa, making prosecution unlikely.
It's not that difficult to be duped by a scammer, explains Business Insider. Many of them use real names and photos. Some even pose as members of the U.S. Armed Forces, giving the impression of safety.
The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Department fields many of these complaints, according to the site. Names and ranks are real, but the perpetrators are usually from Ghana, Angola and Nigeria.
The Better Business Bureau has taken a keen interest in online dating scams. It suggests men and women of all ages be on the lookout for the following things:
- Daters who say they are constantly traveling and are never in the U.S;
- People who claim to be in sudden financial trouble;
- Suitors who ask you to wire them money through a service like Western Union; and
- Online daters who want to talk outside of the dating site after having just met.
The group also makes clear that a little Google never hurt -- and neither does checking sex offender databases. It may be overly cautious, but online dating scams can really hurt.