National Consumers League

Love Stinks!


by NCL staff

A little while back, we blogged about a relatively new scam we’ve been tracking at NCL’s Fraud Center: the Sweetheart Swindle. We’ve been crunching numbers lately to look at the top scams of 2007, and we found something that’s really surprised us: despite the fact that NCL’s Fraud Center has only been tracking this type of scam since July 2007, it gained enough momentum in the second half of the year to move to the top 10 scam list. According to complaints logged at, the average victim lost more than $3,038 last year to Sweetheart Swindles. However, the full extent of the fraud is unknown, given many victims’ reluctance to admit to being scammed.


Here’s one such sad story:

In April 2007, “Donna” cautiously ventured into the world of online dating. Within a week, she was contacted by a man with whom she began to chat. They chatted multiple times a day for seven months. He said he was a wealthy business man, who lived in a nearby city and was temporarily in Africa on business. In October, he said his contract in Africa would soon be up and that he wanted to meet, but he needed $250 to hold him over until a check cleared. Donna offended her new sweetie when she expressed her hesitancy to give money to a stranger. So she sent him the money, and later another $1,500, never to hear from him again.

Stay tuned for more stories of love – and money – lost through Sweetheart Swindles.