By National Consumers League Staff
After being single for many years, 51-year-old “Dan” befriended a woman on a dating Web site, an artist in Lagos. The two developed a spiritual connection and eventually grew romantically involved. The woman told Dan that she longed to come to California to be with him. That’s when she asked him for they money, and he happily wired her $2,500.
Dan was soon contacted by a man claiming to be the woman’s doctor, who said Dan’s true love had been in a terrible accident and was in a coma. Dan never heard from her again.
Hearing about these victims is really tough. They’re devastated emotionally and sometimes out a ton of money. The worst thing is how far from unique Dan’s story is. Sure, there’s a melodramatic twist at the end “explaining” his swindler’s disappearance. But, time and again, the reports we get at NCL’s Fraud Center often contain a drama: an accident, a tragedy, some sudden need for monetary assistance. And, inevitably, love triumphs over caution, and a soon-to-be-heartbroken consumer victim wires the money – or even sends cash.
Help us spread the word about Sweetheart Swindles this week. Everyone who’s seeking companionship on Internet dating or friendship sites is vulnerable. Heck, we’ve heard from victims as young as 24 and as ahem, mature, as 74!