Fraudsters preferred social engineering and compromised accounts to gain personal details.
Some scam messages ask for business, others invite victims to a website with a detailed pitch.
Many individuals have lost their life savings due to this type of fraud.
Violations of federal laws should be reported to the federal agency responsible for enforcement.
While federal agencies are rarely able to act on behalf of individuals, they use complaints to record patterns of abuse which allow an agency to take action against a company or industry.
In fact, these scams are such a significant problem that from October 2013 to February 2016 there were more than 17,600 reported victims suffering $2.3 billion in losses.
Sweetheart scams work like this: The scammer presents himself or herself as a perfect match to a person online.
Then, the scammer starts preying on a victim's love and trust to bleed bank accounts dry.
The scammer will say she needs money to afford a visit to the victim.
When she receives that check, she'll come up with more excuses to steal money.