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And it allows victims to claim the loss on their taxes.Today Joanna advises others to do their research on potential dates, but most importantly to pay attention to their gut instincts.“I wish I’d listened to me. I wish I had listened to the Romance Scams support group,” Joanna said. thousands of dollars.”The best protection, experts say, is to cut off contact as soon as a prospective date acts suspiciously (see below for tips on spotting red flags).“And so the tragedy of this type of crime is that you not only lose money, but it breaks your heart.”In the meantime, here are some strategies for staying safe while dating online: Spira, the dating guru, also advises taking the relationship offline fairly quickly via a face-to-face meeting in a public place. “And once you meet them, there might not be anything in common.” Also, experts say, reluctance to meet can be another red flag. In fact, all Ghanaian are always wanting to leave Ghana.That’s particularly true if they’ve been through difficult circumstances, such as divorce, losing a job, serious illness and other major losses, says Doug Shadel, a fraud researcher and director of AARP Washington.It’s as if “their immune system to fraud” is weakened, Shadel said.But now, the number of people falling for those scams is growing at an alarming number.New statistics out for the last six months of 2014 show, more than 6,400 Americans say they were scammed after visiting online dating sites in the second half of last year.
And state and federal agencies have shut down several large romance scams in recent months, including a case in which two South Africans and a Canadian were extradited to the U. on charges of bilking hundreds of Americans of millions of dollars through romance scams and other financial fraud schemes.Because once they forge a bond with you — which can happen surprisingly fast — it can be very hard to break free.Discontinuing contact may sound “obvious and simple, but it isn’t always because they’ve fallen in love with this person,” the AARP’s Shadel said.But the billion dating industry could do much more, many experts say, including warning members who have been contacted by a known scammer.AARP is collecting signatures on an online petition calling on dating sites to take stronger steps to protect customers.