I was hoodwinked twice & lost $468k after answering two separate messages | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

A WIDOW desperately looking for love ended up being duped out of $468,000 after falling for two separate scams.

Connie Rotolo, of Long Island, New York, said she was beating herself up after wiring a supposed love interest thousands of dollars.

Connie Rotolo lost thousands after falling victim to a romance scamCredit: CBS
The so-called love interest started demanding moneyCredit: CBS

But that was not all the money she was about to lose.

She scoured social media and came across pages that claimed she could get her money back, per CBS News.

In a desperate bid, she wired money to people who turned out to be fraudsters.

Rotolo’s husband Al died during the Covid-19 pandemic and she turned online to find love.

She and Al had been married for 45 years before his death.

She was chatting to a man, who was supposedly working in the Philippines.

But months later he started to demand money.

Rotolo ended up sending almost $500,000 to the man when the penny appeared to drop.

“Every day I beat myself up,” she said.

“How stupid are you, Connie? You’re an educated person.”

‘It can happen to anyone,’ warns bank customer after 2 phone ‘dings’ lead to $2k missing – money was 100s of miles away

Rotolo then surfed Facebook and stumbled across pages that claimed she could be reimbursed.

She wired money before ending up realizing she had fallen victim to yet another scam.

A representative for Meta confirmed the company removes content that violates its policies.

The U.S. Sun has approached Meta for comment.

The FBI is among the agencies that have revealed tips on how to avoid falling victim to romance scams.

Scammers use social media as a tool to target unsuspecting victims.

Cyber expert’s advice on spotting a romance scam

A cyber expert with knowledge of romance scams spoke to The U.S. Sun and warned users of red flags to look out for. Roger Grimes, a defense evangelist at cyber-firm KnowBe4, listed 8 main questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the person trying to move you off the dating site to an unmonitored app?
  • Are they asking lots of questions before revealing info about themselves? This could be a bid to establish common ground and build trust.
  • Are they avoiding phone calls and video chats and coming up with excuses?
  • Do they say they travel a lot or that they’re not in the same country? This is often a lucrative part of the scam as they will need money.
  • Have they said they are traveling on a certain day and something unforeseen happens, so they need money to get there?
  • Do they ask for deep, dark secrets, or incriminating or nude photos? This could be used for blackmail further down the line.
  • Have they said they have been scammed before? This is sometimes a ploy to build trust and convince you that they’re not a scammer.
  • Do they have a sob story? Like their spouse died suddenly or left unfairly? Or they’ve been left with kids or massive bills to pay?

Read more here.

They should be wary if conversations are going too well.

Fraudsters may sound caring but this is just a trap to lure people in.

Social media users shouldn’t send money to people they have not yet met in person, the agency warns.

They should also be suspicious if the person makes excuses if the person doesn’t show up after arranging to meet.

Banking execs have urged cops to crack down on those who carry out romance scams.

“We need the social media companies to shut down these people that are putting these out there,” Paul Benda, of the American Bankers Association, told CNBC.

“We need law enforcement engaged to try and prosecute some of these folks.”

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