Seniors Scammed for $1.1 Million in Online Romance Con

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Senior elderly lady at home using her new laptop computer and its technology
Ian Shaw/Alamy
Online dating has a dark side. And it proved to be costly to elderly victims who were looking for love on popular dating sites, including Match.com and Chemistry.com, authorities said.

A Maryland man was accused of targeting seniors who decided to cast a wider web in their search for romance. He allegedly swindled them out of more than $1.1 million in a so-called romance scam.

Krist Koranteng, age 32, of Maryland was charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Maryland and the Ohio Attorney General's office, which helped with the case.

Romantic Approaches, Then Requests for Cash

An 11-count indictment announced last week revealed that Koranteng allegedly preyed on the seniors between September 2012 and February 2014. As these scams tend to go, after he connected with the victims online, Koranteng allegedly called, emailed and texted to build "romantic relationships with the victims."

That led to requests for money to help made-up family members who were supposedly sick, for phony plane trips and to help him with what turned out to be bogus investments.

Ohio authorities got involved after hearing from a victim who had been taken for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Attorney General's office said.

"The romance scam is a particularly low type of scam,' Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement, "and victims deserve to see perpetrators brought to justice.

Don't Be a Victim

DeWine offered the following tips to help those who meet people online avoid getting scammed:
  • Research someone you meet online; don't rely on what that person tells you. Perform Internet searches and consider getting a background check.
  • Be cautious of individuals who claim it was destiny or fate that brought you together.
  • Talk to friends and family members about online relationships.
  • Don't send money to someone you meet online, even if you have developed a relationship.
  • Be very skeptical of requests to send money via wire transfer or prepaid money cards. These are preferred payment methods for scammers.

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129 Comments

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LNOFT97

When their mental capacities begin to diminish and they are writing checks right and left, when they are getting 20 - 30 phone calls a day from their new "friend" - take a look at their telephone bill and see where that "friend" is calling from. If it's a cell phone number that changes frequently, if they are calling from Florida, or especially Jamaica - they are professional scam artists. They are very clever, and very persuasive. They will call a senior citizen and talk for an hour a day, and ask for money, or Visa gift cards, or a bank account number so they can "deposit" something in it for the senior's birthday....A greedy offspring can't expect to inherit anything from his senile parents if they give it all away to professional scammers. The greedy offspring will be stuck with penniless parents is what will happen.

September 02 2014 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SPQR

The government is preying on old people. The Democrats romance the middleclass and then rob them of every last cent to get more votes.

September 02 2014 at 10:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SPQR's comment
shrynf

Had to bring politics into this, huh? The GOP is a party full of sickos and psychos. SMH Such a miserable and pathetic group of idiots!!! To wake up to yourself every morning, there's no wonder why.

September 02 2014 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ezspin42

I always see commercials for a site called farmersonly. That sounds so weird it's either fake or a scam in and of itself

September 02 2014 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cpruitt221

I do not understand why women or men my age-I am 70-cannot see through these scams. True friendships do not include lending or investing money-they don't really have to do with anything but caring for each other and spending time together. Finding love at this point should be about the same thing.LIfe is full of beauty and interesting things to see and learn and does not require having your ego fed by the opposite sex or the gender of your choosing.

September 01 2014 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cpruitt221's comment
LNOFT97

Their mental capacities begin to diminish. This is a true fact, I'm not just 'being mean'. My mother got scammed in many many ways (not through promises of "romance") simply by sending in to Publisher's Clearinghouse and other sweepstakes. (She was getting stacks and stacks of mail from all over, begging letters from all over. A foot high stack of mail. And she was writing dozens of checks to people and organizations we never heard of. I didn't care if she gave to charities, but 50 a month?? She needed her savings to live on!) They are very easy to scam, preying on their good nature. They don't BELIEVE such a nice person would do anything wrong!

September 02 2014 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
redliontat

only an idiot would send money to an internet romance without vetting them . Tell these old folks it is better to pay for a real rent boy or hooker in RL.

September 01 2014 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rma101560

Ohio authorities got involved after hearing from a victim who had been taken for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Attorney General's office said.

How can somebody savvy enough to have this kind of money by so dense as to fall for an obvious scam?

September 01 2014 at 8:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rma101560's comment
SPQR

It is called greed

September 02 2014 at 10:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
EzinWy

Really ? Seriously ? Unbelievable.

September 01 2014 at 8:45 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
hanlon1212

Those who prey upon lonely geriatrics belong on milk cartons.

September 01 2014 at 8:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Kat

Stear clear of on line relationships period.

September 01 2014 at 7:31 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jack

If the guy didn't menion anything about investments they wouldn't have a case . The rest was standard relationship lies . If he didn't promise them anything in return then they got what they paid for . So he's been indicted no big deal as they say " You can indict a ham sandwich " .

September 01 2014 at 5:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jack's comment
hanlon1212

Jack is on crack.

September 01 2014 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hanlon1212

Jack is on crack.

September 01 2014 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply