Phone: 239-477-1000
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Fraud Alerts

Online Cupid Breaks Local Woman’s Heart and Her Pocketbook
Friday, February 15, 2013

Many couples celebrated Valentines Day with cards, chocolates and red roses. Sweet expressions of undying love, devotion and affection for that special someone. Sadly, many others celebrated Valentines Day with an online con-artist after being lured into a fraudulent relationship with someone posing as the perfect soul mate.

Unfortunately, one online cupid who claimed to be an American businessman working as an Investor in a Ghana Gold Mine Association duped a local woman into believing their long distance romance and business partnership was golden. The woman received an e-mail from the heartless scammer shortly after posting her profile on an internet dating site. What started off as casual conversation, quickly turned romantic, with the victim even receiving a delivery of red roses. At first the victim believed she was investing in a mining business and began loaning the suspect money with the agreement she would be paid back in monthly installments. The scammer sent the victim fake promissory notes and other fraudulent documents to convince the victim he was a legitimate business man. As the months passed and the relationship bloomed, the scammer began requesting the victim send money to bank accounts located in Accra, Ghana as well as clothing, luggage, jewelry and very expensive electronic devices. Within six months, the scammer had drained the victim’s bank account of nearly $450,000.00. The chances of recovering these funds are now nearly impossible since the victim wired the money and mailed the packages to a location outside of the United States.

If you or someone you know is involved in online dating, be forewarned: the online contact could be a criminal sitting in a cyber cafe with a well-rehearsed script that’s being used on thousands of other innocent victims. They are experts in exploiting the vulnerability of their victim and can be difficult to spot unless you know what red flags to look for:

  • Their profile seems to disappear off the web site immediately after conversation begins
  • They claim it was destiny or fate and you are meant to be together
  • They immediately ask for your picture and they send you a picture of themselves
  • They immediately want your address to send flowers, candy, and teddy bears, often  purchased  with stolen credit cards 
  • They claim to love you either immediately or within 24-48 hours
  • They claim God brought you to him/her
  • They typically claim to be from the US but are currently overseas for business or family matters
  • They are gone from your conversation for a length of time and avoid your personal questions
  • They send you poems or love letters, most of which can be traced back to
  • A majority of them claim to have lost a spouse/child/parent in a horrific accident

    These are all lies intended to take money from unsuspecting victims. Although these romances can be extremely exciting the Sheriff’s Office encourages you to apply common sense over your feelings. To obtain more information on romance scams, visit or contact the fraud line at 239-477-1242.