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” — not knowing that I was just enabling another scammer to be credible on the dating site. They were for setting up the power of attorney, or for paying a tariff, or a customs dispute somewhere.

Did he tell you he was based in one place, or was he moving around all that time?

He was in between Malaysia, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur — the hardwood trees were there and they were being shipped to India. So he set me up on a Yahoo chat, and we would talk for hours at a time.

Online romance scammers work individually and in teams, often creating fake profiles using real people’s photographs in order to form close (if internet-based) relationships with unsuspecting victims, whom they eventually ask for money — because they’re overseas in the military, because they’re sick, because they’re trying to buy plane tickets home, etc.

Given victims’ presumed complicity in these scams (because, technically, their money is given voluntarily), and the resulting stigma, it’s likely that online relationship scams are much more prevalent than even FTC reports suggest.

So I figured well, heck, if it can work for them, then I can certainly try it.

I’d never heard of anybody being taken by an online romance, I’d only heard the good stuff.

In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 21,000 reports about online romance scams, totaling 3 million in losses.

As the number of dating sites and social media apps has gone up, so too has the number of romance scams reported — from 17,000 in 2017, 11,000 in 2016, and 8,500 in 2015.

He had started an internet company, and I was thrown into running it, in addition to my own job as a treasurer for one of the local schools.

My friends, after about six months, said, “You know, you need a life.” I didn’t really like dating when I was 16, and I certainly didn’t want to do it at 52, but they said, . I had friends who’d met their spouses through online dating, and my mom said “Oh, one of my best friends met her husband online,” and we’re talking, like, 75 year-olds.

For me, it was a great way to get out all the grief I had from Lou dying without actually having to worry about a physical relationship.

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