Bored one day, TRS was surfing the web and came across an online dating site.

It was free, so he entered some information (cleverly mixing in some false data to prevent being scammed) and created an account.

TRS went through some of the matches that came up, and stopped on one in particular. It showed a picture of an attractive woman named Elizabeth who was serving for a year as a missionary overseas. He dug a little further and found her Facebook page. Everything checked out, so he sent her a message through the dating site. After several message exchanges, Elizabeth suggested that they stop communicating through the dating site. TRS gladly took the communication private.

TRS thus wasn’t aware when the dating site terminated Elizabeth’s profile because it had been created with a stolen credit card.

TRS and Elizabeth began sending each other family photos and exchanging personal information. They even talked on the phone, although Elizabeth had to originate each call because she was located in the jungle and had spotty connectivity. TRS felt bad about that, and pushed to send her money to cover the cost. She reluctantly accepted it.

Elizabeth started sending TRS a text every morning and every night professing her everlasting love. She told him about her mission and how some desperately needed operational funds had been held up in customs. He sent her $3,000 to tide her over the first time, and then another $5,000 to cover her emergency medical expenses. She encouraged him to fly over to meet her in Ghana.

So TRS flew to Ghana, whereupon he was kidnapped, ransomed for $50,000, and finally released to return home. Even then the scam didn’t end – the fake Elizabeth had sold his name and information to other scammers.

Far-fetched? Nope. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center reported date fraud losses at $204 million for 2015 alone.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.