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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. If you have the message logs or emails go back and review them. 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.Five years ago, he and a small team of international volunteers, including Firefly, created Scam Survivors, a hotline and information resource center for victims of online scams — mostly, as it turns out, romance scams. “With the romance scam, it could be someone who's been married for a number of years.“In that moment, something was not sounding right to me,” Firefly says. But she also realized something else: There were probably a lot of people, just like her, being victimized on dating sites, and Firefly was determined to do something about it.
But when Internet connectivity finally arrived after the turn of the 21st century, many of these optimistic youth struggled to form connections with the foreigners they encountered online.It’s not uncommon for victims to lose tens of thousands of dollars.Five years ago, an Austrian woman decided to give online dating a try.“Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says.Scarcely had the boy recovered when he was struck by cholera, which required another expensive course of treatment.