Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
LACONIA, NH (CBS) – A second New Hampshire woman has come forward saying she was bilked out of $25,000 in an online dating scam.
WBZ first told you about Claudia, a woman who met her dream man on Match.com. It turned out he was a fraud. He was actually a criminal working overseas who convinced her to send him $25,000 in cash and electronic goods in just one month.
After seeing Claudia’s story on WBZ, Pam Clark contacted us with her own online dating disaster. Clark is a retired teacher from Laconia, New Hampshire. She decided to jump back into the dating game by getting a Match.com account. Just like in Claudia’s story, the man claimed to be German-born but living in New Hampshire. In both cases the online suitor told the women he was working overseas. Clark doesn’t think it’s the same man, but it had the same heartbreaking result.
Over the eight months she corresponded with the person. He was romantic, she says and he said all the right things. On several occasions, he asked Pam to send him cash. By the time she ended the relationship, she was out more than $25,000. It’s sunk her deep into debt. “It ruins people’s lives,” she says. “I’ll be in debt for the rest of my life.”
Claudia and Pam are not alone. The FBI says online dating sites are full of scam artists preying on people just looking for love and companionship. In the past year, 5,600 people in the United States have reported being victims of online romance scams. They’ve been tricked out of a whopping $50 million dollars.
The FBI says most of the con artists operate overseas in countries where tracking them down is difficult. Few are brought to justice.
Match.com says they have a team of people devoted to combating fraud on their website, but sometimes crooks slip through the cracks.