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Then, after about a week of heavy correspondence, Firefly’s boyfriend announced his son’s birthday was coming up, and suggested she send him a gift. It was pretty gratifying, she says; the son was ecstatic.But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently.He suggested they ditch the dating site and switch to email.

The most common complaint Scam Survivors receive is for “sextortion,” where scammers make tapes of sexual encounters with their victims, then press them for money in exchange for keeping the video private.

According to Mayes, they’ve handled more than 14,000 such cases in the past three years. Go deactivate all your social media accounts,” he says.

As for Firefly, she now refuses to date anyone she doesn’t meet the old-fashioned way, face to face.

But on the internet, she’s still looking for love in all the wrong places — this time, with a mission.

Within the space of about three months, Firefly wired the equivalent of about $1,000 to Ghana.

She decided to do a little research online and discovered that, yes, cholera is a problem in Ghana, and yes, treating it can be expensive — except that Ghana actually has a free cholera treatment program.Firefly spent a lot of time on her profile, thinking she needed to be entirely honest and open if she hoped to really connect with someone.Within 10 minutes of posting, she had a handful of virtual suitors — and one stood out.Tinder is still on top as the most popular of all the best sex apps, and 2017 has seen the numbers of Tinder’s paid users rocketing to 476,000 singletons subscribing for premium access.According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime.Mays would post any identifying details that scammers used online — from the email addresses they created to the back stories they recycled — to make them searchable. But for Mays, who co-hosts a scam-baiting podcast, “it’s also like improve comedy.” Most people aren’t turning to him for comic relief, though.

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