Insider.com, Taylor Ardrey, 4/30/23, 4:18pm
Romance Scammer Robs Older Woman of Her Home and Heart
A 75-year-old Georgia woman sold her home to pay a man who romanced her on Facebook almost $100,000.
Police said the woman, who was not publicly identified, started talking to the man on the social media platform in March, an ABC affiliate in Georgia reported.
When the relationship started to get “serious” between the two, the man began to demand money strictly in cash, the outlet reported, citing police documents.
The woman sent the scammer about $95,000 in total, which she raised by selling her house. She shipped the cash to a Nebraska address using UPS and FedEx. The Athens Banner-Herald reported that the woman said she never met the alleged scammer in person.
Scammers take advantage of loneliness
Romance scams like these are becoming more common, Insider previously reported. In the last year alone, Americans lost $1.3 billion to con artists posing as romantic partners. The scammers take advantage of people’s loneliness, take the time to build a relationship, and then ask for money, an expert earlier told Insider.
“It may be six months before they ask for money,” Stacey Wood, a forensic neuropsychology expert, previously told Insider. “That’s a commitment.”
Police arrested a woman earlier this year for scamming an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor she met on an online dating site out of $2.8 million, which she used to fund a lavish lifestyle. Prosecutors say the woman, identified as Peaches Stergo, used her target’s life savings to buy “a home in a gated community, a condominium, a boat, and numerous cars, including a Corvette and a Suburban.”
Where to turn if this happens to you:
Contact FBI IC3.gov, FTC, NH Attorney General’s Office: Consumer Protection and Anti-Trust Bureau, or check out the resource page on StayconnectedNH.org