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In a typical con, the perpetrator will spend weeks or even months building up a romantic relationship with a victim through e-mails, texts or phone calls, before eventually asking for money.
And many of the scammers aren't even in the United States.
The standard scam story then starts to unfold as your online date suddenly has some sort of emergency in Nigeria or Ghana.
The stories may range from a businessman having an accident while in Nigeria for work to a helpless woman being stranded in Ghana; from asking for charity donations for Africa to a family member having a brain hemorrhage while in Africa.
You get to know the person, perhaps over weeks or months. All of a sudden they request a short-term loan for some personal crisis. These images can be used later on to blackmail you.
There are nine warning signs worth heeding when you're out there dating. They Feed Off The Clues In Your Profile Don't mention your income or where you work.
A new ‘safe harbour’ complaints process has been set up for online hosts to follow under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.
This allows you to request the removal of harmful or illegal content posted by others.
Armed with their fake identity, the scammer proceeds to forge a bond with you.
They often communicate with you for weeks and months so you think you are getting to know them better while it is actually all part of their master plan.
You can say you're a nurse or an executive but don't mention where or how much you make.