Internet dating scam artists

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A romance scam, dating scam or catfishing is a swindle where someone tries to lure another into giving them money through a dating site, email romance, or otherwise dating-related contact.If you are concerned that you are currently being scammed, please check the Signs of a Dating Scam, first.Learn more about how to protect yourself with About.com's Guide to Identity Theft.Because you've already been a victim of a romance scam, you'll be put on a contact list for other fraudulent folks to contact you.Try to gather as much information as you can about the person who frauded you, such as their name, email address, any ids used, the site they contacted you at, the kind of scam, what address they gave you to send money, the dates contact was made, any phone numbers used, the name and address the money was sent to, how much money was sent, any Western Union or banking information receipts, and their IP address.Unfortunately, by falling prey to a romance scam, you've also opened yourself up to identity theft.They don't use their real names or actual pictures.They make up a name, or steal the likeness of someone else...someone you might feel safe about, such as soldier, social aid worker or a professional working abroad.

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If they earn your trust, they might talk you into sending pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature.

Scammers go to great lengths to win you over and gain your trust and affection, just as a sincere romantic interest would do to win your heart.

The lying Lothario will charm you with sweet words, pledges of affection and may even send gifts to you.

There are endless, tall tales, all semi-plausible, that they could offer up to you. But if you decline to send money, they might remind you of those half-naked pictures and videos you sent them, and they'll ask for hush-money to keep them private. At what point does a sweetheart you met online turn into a possible romantic scam artist?

And if you've become emotionally attached to the person, you might give in. Here's what the experts say you need to look out for after you've started to develop a relationship.

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