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“Eventually, the conspirators that posed as the victims’ online love interests requested financial assistance for various purposes,” the complaint said.
For example, one victim in the case had just lost a spouse and “out of loneliness” accepted a Facebook friend request from a man who went by the name Frank, according to the complaint.
The two engaged in a romantic relationship communicating online via Facebook, Google Hangout and email.
Assured by “Frank” they would have a future together, the victim forked over about ,000, ostensibly to help him pay a son’s medical bills, the complaint said.
If the images come up associated with a person who has another name or lives in a different city, you have good reason to suspect they were stolen from someone else’s profile.
En español | If you’re looking for love online, make sure to keep your wallet — if not your heart — under lock and key.
“That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.” Eventually a pitch for money comes.
Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.
The alleged cybercrooks met victims through websites and apps, including Match.com, Facebook and Instagram, according to prosecutors.
What these scams had in common were budding relationships that started and flourished electronically via dating websites, emails, texts and phone calls, the complaint said.