It's easy to hear these stories and think, "What dupes." But who isn't looking for some form of connection and understanding online, whether it's on Facebook or OKCupid? We broadcast so much of ourselves -- sometimes unwittingly revealing our greatest hopes and fears -- and romance scammers use those personal details to target a collective craving. That's the real enabler in these cons, and its one most of us are vulnerable to: The desire for love. As one user wrote to a troubled poster who expressed still finding enjoyment in talking to her scammer despite having found out the truth about them, "Stay strong - someone will eventually come that will be honest and not wanting to play with your feelings."
Tracy Clark-Flory wrote a piece reporting on "love fraud," where scammers convince marks to fall in love and send them money. It's a fine piece, but I was really hit by this last paragraph: