Sweetheart scams are on the rise in North Carolina. In a sweetheart scam, scammers use social media and dating websites such as Facebook, ChristianMingle.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com and Match.com to send messages to a potential victim expressing interest in getting to know him or her. The scammers then develop an online romance with their potential victims through a series of emails and online communications. Inevitably the scammers claim that an emergency has come up and they convince their victims to send money to help get them through the emergency.
The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division heard from 25 victims of sweetheart scams in 2012 who lost more than $2 million in total.
Sweetheart scams can target men or women of any age but seniors can be special targets. Ten of the 25 consumers who complained of sweetheart scams in 2012 were seniors. One Lexington senior lost more than $1 million to a man who conned her into repeatedly sending him money overseas.
If suspect that someone you know has been the victim of a sweetheart scam, contact the Attorney General’s Office at 919-716-6400.