FBI cracks down on online dating scams with Operation Romeo and Juliet

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Online schemes are as old as the internet, but a new rash of them targeting online daters is raising concerns.

The problem is so prevalent that the FBI is stepping in with a new crackdown dubbed Operation Romeo and Juliet.

Tim McMurray says that before his mother died, he promised her he'd find a good woman. He was looking online and found a love interest.

"Trying to establish a relationship, a love of sorts," he said. "Text love, I called it."

But the FBI says the person McMurray was talking to was a man, allegedly in on an elaborate scheme meant to target those looking for love online.

Authorities say most schemes start with promises about the future but end with requests for money.

"They were not that creative," McMurray said. "I was thinking you have to be pretty vulnerable for this work."

But it does work.

One family said their elderly mother was dating online and actually wired more than $20,000 out of her account, with the thief promising her marriage as long as she wired him money.

That money was not recovered, and yet she still does not believe she was a victim.

So authorities advise watching your parents and monitoring their accounts to see what's going on. Never send money to someone you have never met, and never provide personal information to someone you don't know.
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