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Romance scammers work by setting up fake profiles on dating sites and social media.

Sometimes, they use fake names and stock photos; in other cases, they steal real people’s names, images, and personal information.

Many romance scammers operate outside the United States.

According to Huff Post, most of them are located in Ghana and Nigeria, but an increasing number originate in communities of West African immigrants in Canada, Malaysia, and Britain.

When Candace first met Eric on an online dating site, he seemed like a dream come true.

After a rough divorce the year before, she was thrilled to meet a man who shared her religion, interests, and love of children and animals.

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Some catfishers use these fake identities to annoy or harass others online, or just to flirt without commitment. They lure their victims into an online relationship and use it to get money out of them – sometimes thousands of dollars.Some of them are career criminals, but many are college students with low incomes looking for extra cash.In Nigeria, many of these fraudsters – known as “Yahoo boys” after the Internet portal Yahoo – have grown very rich, buying multiple houses, fancy cars, and expensive jewelry with the proceeds of their crimes.And that number may only represent a fraction of the real total.According to Huff Post, FBI agents believe roughly 85% of all romance scams are never reported because the victims are too embarrassed to come forward.He needed money in a hurry or he’d be thrown out of the country just a few months shy of earning his degree.

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