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What are some common Internet romance scams to look out for?

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Quick Answer

Common Internet romance scams to watch out for involve people who victims meet in chat rooms or on social network or dating sites who profess romantic feelings and then ask for money to handle sudden emergencies, warns the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sometimes victims who meet their correspondents face-to-face experience injury, go missing or die. Scammers often say that they are U.S. citizens traveling abroad whom the U.S. embassy refuses to help, reports the U.S. Department of State.

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Full Answer

Romance scammers typically target vulnerable people who are elderly, disabled, divorced or widowed, explains the FBI. They are aware that these types of people may have money, and they create identities that project their trustworthiness, according to the U.S. Department of State. Their victims may be unaware of their correspondents' true names, ages, genders, nationalities and marital statuses. After gaining their victims' trust and affection, romance scammers often claim to have tragic emergencies such as deaths or injuries in the family, car crashes, or arrests. Some scammers ask for money, while others rely on the good intentions of their victims and expect them to offer it.

People should never send money to anyone they haven't personally met or whose identities they are unable to verify, cautions the U.S. Department of State. They should be careful about what personal details they share on social networking sites. If correspondents claim to be U.S. citizens in trouble overseas, people should refer them to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Those who think that they are victims of romance scams should report the problem to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov.

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