Angie Kennard’s father fell victim to a romance scam—and was conned out of over $700,000. Special Agent Keith Custer from FBI Baltimore and a former romance scammer talk about how scammers find their victims and then exploit them for their money.
My father was single. He turned to the internet for dating and met Mary Blake 123 at yahoo.com.
I had people from Nigeria contact me to create fake accounts on dating sites like P.O.V. and create email account to match what they are the kind of profile that they want to be on.
He started just corresponding with this person, and she essentially made him believe that she was abroad in England, working on a project. She got to know my dad a little bit in his background. He used to do a lot of construction.
It’s easy because these people are looking for someone to trust and. This kind of relationship could be short term or long term.
They kind of built this love relationship online over multiple years and would continuously ask for money, and he would wire money. By the time I got involved, hundreds of thousands had already been taken. I think the impact was up to about 700,000 or more.
Special Agent Keith Custer
Last year alone, we had over 25,000 of these types of complaints. Victims at the end of a romance scam can feel manipulated. Families, relationships, marriages can be torn apart, and the toll that one of these scams can take is devastating.
That’s the main goal to get people’s money. And these people will fall for it.
They’re very good, and they they manipulate minds and they clearly know what they’re doing and they’re intentional and they they get over $700,000 that we use is what they stole from my father. He had nothing left to the point where he stopped taking care of himself.
The important thing is just to get the victim talking and just kind of evaluating that relationship and then just using common sense. If this is someone I’ve never seen in person, never met in person, that all of a sudden is professing their undying love for me and wants to marry me and spend the rest of his life, and then is asking me for tens of thousands of dollars. That’s certainly going to be a red flag.