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On top of losing her money, the fake “Andrew” disappeared, and Maria never heard from him again. The scammer may use photos from magazines and portray himself or herself as talented and successful. citizen working or serving abroad, or give a similar excuse to explain their inability to meet in person.

Fake profiles may have discrepancies or inconsistencies, like disproportionate height and weight, or be suspiciously vague. Online dating and romance scams often begin like any other online relationship: interested individuals exchange basic information, like their line of work, their city, and their hobbies and interests.

Con artists share information about victims and may target victims more than once.

Some scammers induce victims to share personal information or images and then threaten to post or distribute them to the friends, family members, and employers if the victim refuses to pay.

Maria and Andrew seemed to hit it off and began planning a road trip for that summer when Andrew would come back to the U. Andrew sent Maria a check for $5,000 to cover the cost of their trip, but then suddenly asked her to send $4,500 back to him because he needed money for rent after being laid off from his job.

Maria deposited the check and sent the money, but was soon contacted by her bank, which told her the check was bad and she had to repay the $4,500.

In the second instance, the scammer asks for money directly.