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Experts say people are getting better at spotting many of the Internet's longtime scams: They're suspicious of unsolicited emails from the Nigerian royal family, and they ignore the romantic entreaties of beautiful lovestruck women who sound vaguely like badly programmed algorithms. And on dating sites, would-be scammers have a trump card: People are irrational when they're looking for love.
"Romance is by definition quite irrational," Jack Levin, co-director of Northeastern University's Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, told The Post.
In November, the Boston Police Department warned daters to be wary of people they met online after robbers targeted victims who thought they were meeting a romantic interest at a specific address. "Members of the public are urged to take precautions when using social media or dating websites because it's possible you could come across a 'Catfisher.'" Criminals searching for real-world victims online haven't just focused on dating sites.
"When the person arrives outside that location, they are approached by a male suspect armed with a handgun and robbed of their property," Boston police said. Robberies and other violent Craigslist-related crimes across the United States - including multiple slayings - have sparked wariness among some Internet bargain hunters, too, giving police department parking lots a second life as a place to buy stuff from strangers.
"As of now, investigators believe there have been 6 such incidents in the past 5 weeks. "To avoid becoming a victim of these crimes, we urge members of the public to arrange meetings with online vendors in public places, such as local police departments," John Horn, the assistant U. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said following the sentencing hearing of a Craigslist robber.
On the website's personal safety page, Craigslist emphasizes that a tiny fraction of transactions conducted through the site end in crime.
- - - Using the lure of Internet love to get money from unsuspecting people is a scam as old as the Web itself.At a news conference, he said he suspected she was experienced with the scheme."Her comfort with the way this went, didn't seem like it was her first time," he said.There was no reason for Adam Hilarie to believe anything but the obvious: He had just been on a promising first date with a pretty girl.
Hilarie had met Hailey Rose Bustos on Plenty Of Fish, which bills itself as the largest dating site in the world.Johnny Jackson told The Post that Hilarie, his brother, took Bustos to the same bowling alley the siblings used to go to as kids.