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Online dating scams equal millions of dollars in cyber crimes

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A 66-year-old woman was conned into turning over monies in a romance scam, perpetrated by a man posing as a love interest.

According to a Jan. 16, report by San Jose Mercury News, Dating website ChristianMingle.com, is the site named in the investigation.

The victim's name is being withheld, but her story is just one in a growing number of incidents involving women being preyed upon in the online dating arena.

"A Nigerian scam artist contacted the 66-year-old woman via the legitimate site. Wooing her with phone calls, text messages and flowers, the ersatz suitor eventually persuaded her to invest more than half a million dollars in his fictitious oil rig, Santa Clara County prosecutor Cherie Bourlard said Wednesday."

The elder fraud unit was able to recover some of the woman's money. The scam artist claimed to be from the U.K., but his Skype records traced his location to Nigeria.

The victim wired cash on more than one occasion. An associate of the perpetrator Wisdom Onokpite, was arrested by police when he attempted to withdraw wired funds, of $200,000.00 from a bank in Turkey. The bank wired the $200.000.00 back to the victim, but the perpetrator is still at large.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation offers tips on the warning signs in online dating scams. Another cyber-security company, ThreatMetrix, claims that tens of millions of dollars are lost via online dating scams.

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