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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.The site tends to be a last resort for victims who are afraid to go to the police, or to tell anyone in their life what’s happened, because they’re ashamed. Their partner has either died or they've divorced and they've just started looking at online dating.These women smuggle guns to the opposition and make improvised explosive devices in their kitchens.They work in field hospitals saving the lives of FSA fighters.One day, scrolling through an online forum, she met Wayne Mays (not his real name) from the UK.
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.(She asked that I only use her internet handle, Firefly, for reasons that will soon become clear.) It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced.“You pretend to be a victim and string them along, try to get them to waste as much of their time, money, and resources as you can,” he says.
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.
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.