Man Loses Thousands In Online “Looking For Love” Scam

Authorities say it is unlikely a Johnston County man will be able to recover thousands of dollars he lost in an online scam.  The victim said he began an online relationship with a woman who claimed to be in the UK. Later she claimed she would travel to Johnston County to visit him but needed money for a passport, so he wired her $900.  Later, the woman asked for $2,500 for a plane ticket. And a third time, she asked for $1,800 for travel expenses.  Each time the victim, who is from the Princeton area, sent the money.

However, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said the victim became suspicious when the woman asked for $45,000 before making the trip.  He then reported the incident and learned it was a scam.

According to the FBI, the “Looking For Love” online dating scam is widespread.  The scam normally targets women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk.

It begans by someone appearing to be interested in you and they have a profile you can read or a picture is emailed to you. For weeks or even months you chat back and forth forming a connection. But ultimately your “friend” will ask for money.

The FBI says criminals look on dating and social media sites to find their victims.  The pictures are likely phony, lifted from other websites. The profiles are also fake.

They scam always involves asking for money for a variety of reasons including travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospital bills for a child or relative, visas, losses from a financial setback or being a victim of a crime.