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Mays would post any identifying details that scammers used online — from the email addresses they created to the back stories they recycled — to make them searchable. But for Mays, who co-hosts a scam-baiting podcast, “it’s also like improve comedy.”Most people aren’t turning to him for comic relief, though.
Five years ago, he and a small team of international volunteers, including Firefly, created Scam Survivors, a hotline and information resource center for victims of online scams — mostly, as it turns out, romance scams.
According to Mayes, they’ve handled more than 14,000 such cases in the past three years.“We will advise them, first of all: Don't panic.
Go deactivate all your social media accounts,” he says.
Within 10 minutes of posting, she had a handful of virtual suitors — and one stood out.
He suggested they ditch the dating site and switch to email.
But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently.“Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says.
Over the course of twenty business days, law enforcement returned nearly ,000 to victims.“Scammers who prey on people's emotions are using these online dating scams more frequently," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
They will often claim they need money for medical expenses or travel costs.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office recently conducted an investigation into online scams originating from Ghana, a hotbed for internet-based fraud.
Five years ago, an Austrian woman decided to give online dating a try.
(She asked that I only use her internet handle, Firefly, for reasons that will soon become clear.) It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime.