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The #1 target of Internet fraud is …

The #1 target of Internet fraud is …
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Scammers never stop scheming to find new ways to separate people from their money. Last year, they succeeded to the tune of $800 million. But that's just the amount actually reported to the government. The FBI estimates the real figure is more like $3.5 billion. That's a lot of money.

Thieves pull this off using a wide variety of tactics, from phishing emails to phone support scams. However, there's one type of scam that's more successful and despicable than any other: the sweetheart scam.

This is when a thief finds lonely people online, pretends to be interested in them and then persuades them to send the thief money. "How could anyone fall for such an obvious scam," you may think. For many, it is a very expensive reality.  The average victim caught in a sweetheart scam loses $14,214.

If you have a single friend or relative who is looking for love online, you need to share this information with them. They need to know what to watch for so they aren't scammed.

Next page: Who is at risk and how can you spot this scam?
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