For more information see the Ministry of Consumer Affairs lottery and competition scams web page.
The industrialised nature of online romance scamming can cause victims serious harm as they may have to deal with the financial losses involved and the additional psychological trauma of being both defrauded and jilted by a ‘lover’.
Research undertaken in the UK into the psychology of the online dating romance scam (PDF) has found that “many victims are often in denial when they are told that their ‘lover’ is a fiction invented by criminal gangs to extort money.” After months or years of communicating and building up trust, friends or relatives who warn victims that they are being scammed can find their claims denied with those involved vulnerable to further requests for financial assistance.
She wanted help getting her family’s possessions transferred from Ireland and I sent money through to help.
On the day the possessions were supposed to arrive in the US I got a message saying she had been arrested and requests for help continued to come through. Romance scammers are good at what they do and can spend months building up trust before they start to ask for small sums of money.
It all started several years ago when Armstrong signed up for an online dating site, met a guy, and "fell hard and fast" in her words.