So they have no idea that these scammers are out there.” While Mays admits that they can’t get victims’ money back, they can help get victims out of scary situations, especially when romance scammers resort to extortion.The most common complaint Scam Survivors receive is for “sextortion,” where scammers make tapes of sexual encounters with their victims, then press them for money in exchange for keeping the video private.These scammers are well aware of this and therefore often pretend to be from the USA/ UK/ Australia/ Canada or some other Western country.Armed with their fake identity, the scammer proceeds to forge a bond with you.
In Mays’ experience, romance scammers typically target 30 to 40 people a day, and will eventually move on to easier prey if they encounter resistance.
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. “With the romance scam, it could be someone who's been married for a number of years.
The site tends to be a last resort for victims who are afraid to go to the police, or to tell anyone in their life what’s happened, because they’re ashamed. Their partner has either died or they've divorced and they've just started looking at online dating.
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.