Local Police Investigate Dating Website Scammers

WACO (February 11, 2014) At least three local women have reported being scammed out of cash over the past few months by men using internet dating websites to steal money.

Typical cases have involved promises of marriage or long-term relationships and have ended up with thousands of dollars being elicited from well-meaning victims who have fallen prey to the scammers who used wire transfers to steal money, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

To date all of the scams have originated overseas, Swanton said.

“On the cases that have been reported to us so far, the female victims have corresponded with what was thought to be businessmen that they have become involved in an on-line relationship with,” Swanton said.

The scammers set up very believable profiles that are detailed enough that victims are convinced the sites are real.

Swanton said in the three cases so far reported, the victims are so sure the profiles are real that they’ve wired large amounts of money that were intended to provide start-up money for business ventures.

“Victims typically have been involved with the suspects for several months and became very comfortable and confident with the promises they are told,” Swanton said

Swanton said the three cases so far reported have involved losses of $3,000, $5,000 and $15,000.

Once the funds are transferred the chances of finding the scammers is extremely slim, Swanton said.

The funds are transferred to overseas accounts that are immediately closed once the transferred funds have been withdrawn, Swanton said.

Some of the sites used so far by the scammers are Match.com, Zoosk.com and Christianmingle.com.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of safety to our citizens when dealing with these types of sites,” Swanton said.

“The potential for things to go wrong when sending large amounts of money to someone you do not know is great and the probability of money recover or arrest of the suspects is low,” he said.