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Mary Leal said scammers, sometimes referred to as “catfish,” can be found around the globe.Leal said they are most common in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Kenya, Somalia, Russia, Indonesia and the Philippines.“I first started looking at this when a friend of mine, a retired teacher who was widowed, sent ,000 over six months to a scammer in Nigeria,” Leal said. ’ and she said, ‘Because I knew you would have yelled and screamed at me.’ ” Leal said she hopes yelling, screaming and public appearances can help warn lonely people of the potential dangers of internet dating …especially when the object of one’s affection demonstrates poor grammar and spelling skills and soon begins asking for money.They’re not going to get satisfaction legally or financially.

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All dating sites have to suppress and deal with fraud. Q: If you are creating your own profile, is there anything that might make you a target? They’re looking for some sign of gullibility among people who are likely to have some savings. People who are generous, vulnerable, of-faith and fighting poor odds of finding a partner are ideal. In general I recommend people chat for a short while, and then jump onto a video date anyway. I don’t think anyone should put more than half an hour of time into communication without doing a video or real life date. They want to get into direct email or Skype or phone contact asap.

The scam artist then instructs the victim to send a deposit or full payment via wire transfer to initiate the "shipping" process.

To make the transaction seem more legitimate, the fraudster will ask the buyer to send money to a fake agent of a third party that claims to provide purchase protection.

He's hunting through chat rooms, dating sites and social networking sites searching for victims, looking to cash in on romance.

If you are over 40, recently divorced, a widow, elderly or disabled then all the better in his eyes.