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“These are threads in all confidence schemes,” said Mr.

Farquhar, who is the section’s chief of the intellectual property and cyberenabled crimes. has personnel in a number of countries, including Nigeria and Ghana, where Internet romance swindlers operate.

Her reaction to losing almost 0,000 to the swindler: “I blame myself.

Later, he threatened her with not returning any of her money if she did not send more.

After contacting a possible victim, the swindler tries to avoid detection on the dating site by insisting that communications shift to email, telephone or instant message.

Typically, the Internet swindler says he speaks English because he has lived in Europe or the United States and is working as a contractor or builder in Malaysia or another country where he encounters trouble with local authorities.

AT first, the constant attention seemed sweet and very special. Cook, a church secretary in the Tidewater, Va., area, had been a widow for a decade when she joined an Internet dating site and was quickly overcome by a rush of emails, phone calls and plans for a face-to-face visit.“I’m not stupid, but I was totally naïve,” said Ms.

Cook, now 76, who was swept off her feet starting in July 2011 by attention from a man who called himself Kelvin Wells and described himself as a middle-aged German businessman looking for someone “confident” and “outspoken” to travel with him to places like Italy, his “dream destination.”But very soon he began describing various troubles, including being hospitalized in Ghana, where he had gone on business, and asking Ms. In all, she sent him nearly 0,000, as he apparently followed a well-honed script that online criminals use to bilk members of dating sites out of tens of millions of dollars a year.

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Davies that he had been robbed by a man on a bicycle and asked her to send him money.“I debated for a long time, but I wanted to help him,” she said.

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