The man Rhonda Meade fell in love with promised to elope with her to a tropical island paradise where they could be married along white beaches as the setting sun shimmered across vast, crystal-clear waters.
But, the only thing that ran away from the 36-year-old single mother’s life of hardship would eventually be all her savings and the security she had entrusted with “Walter.”Meade, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was one of millions of people who flock to the Internet each year in search of romance and a long term relationship.
Or they may ask you to pay fees, charges or taxes to 'help release or transfer the money out of the country' through your bank.
These fees may even start out as quite small amounts.
He may also send you checks to cash since he’s out of the country and can’t cash them himself, or he may ask you to forward him a package. You were targeted by criminals, probably based on personal information you uploaded on dating or social media sites.
Messenger from October 2006 through February 2007, Walter, a self-described white collar engineer and college sports enthusiast, ended up taking the spellbound Meade for the ride of her life.“We were going to get married,” she recalls, fighting back tears.
“But, then, he told me he had lost his job, was laid off, and that he was in need.
These scams are often known as 'Nigerian 419' scams because the first wave of them came from Nigeria.
The '419' part of the name comes from the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code which outlaws the practice. Scammers may ask for your bank account details to 'help them transfer the money' and use this information to later steal your funds.
“You never think you can become a victim until it happens to you,” Meade said.