"This man gained her trust and confidence and she was betrayed by it." - Sheriff Terry Wagner
They say love is blind. That's exactly what the so called sweetheart scammers are counting on.
A Raymond woman is seeing clearly now, after she fell for the ploy.
"This man gained her trust and confidence and she was betrayed by it," Sheriff Terry Wagner said.
Wagner says the 54-year-old woman lost nearly $27,000 to a man she met on the dating website, Cupid.com.
They spoke over the phone and texted each other, by all accounts, creating a relationship.
The man told the victim he worked as a civil engineer and traveled all over the world.
When the man needed money wired to pay taxes on an inheritance, the woman sent it. She wired money several times over the course of four months. The man told the woman his mother recently died in England. He promised to pay her back, once he received his inheritance.
Wagner says he asked for money on several occasions between August and November 2012.
"There were times when she has suspicions and he alleviated those suspicions by providing her with documents, which turned out to be false, or with explanations that satisfied her suspicions. Then she would go ahead and wire him the money," Wagner said.
The woman says the biggest blow came when the man sent her a check to pay her maxed out credit card bill. Three days after the payment, the check bounced and she knew she had been scammed.
It's a ruse even the FBI is investigating. They say the criminals continue to perpetrate the fraud until they break the victim's bank and heart.
"The bottom line here is, international money transfers, unless you know the person on the other end very well, are very risky. The chance of recovering the money, if it's fraudulent, is zero," Wagner said.
Cupid.com warns their users of scams. They have information about online dating safety on their website.
According to their terms a conditions, they do not regularly review the site, but rely on users to flag scammers.
In the end, the company claims no responsibility and leaves people to use the site at their own risk.
A risk this scam victim now wishes she hadn't taken.
Wagner says to never wire money to anyone you haven't met, face to face, or don't know very well.