CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A woman looking for love online said she lost $300,000 after she claims a scammer used a fake Match.com profile stole her heart and her life savings.
Betty Davies said she met a man who shared her interests and offered to share her life.
She considered Match.com the safest online dating site, so she joined it.
Someone named "Donald Moore" emailed her saying he was a chemical engineer on assignment in Malaysia.
"And the deeper he charmed me, the deeper I fell," Davies said.
They planned to meet in Atlanta, but their romance took a dark turn when he told her someone had grabbed his briefcase, which had his wallet and credit cards in it.
Donald said he needed cash.
Davies said she hesitated, but then wired $5,000 and then, $15,000 more.
That's when Donald told her he wanted to marry her.
"'I think I want to marry you,'" Davies said. "All the words a woman wants to hear."
She admits emotion blew away common sense and eventually, she realized Donald didn't exist.
But, not before the scammer cleaned out her savings -- $300,000.
Davies told police and filled out federal complaints against Match.com.
"For the fake profiles on the website and misleading the consumer that two real people are meeting," Davies said.
A class action lawsuit in Illinois claimed more than half the Match.com profiles are fake. It has been dismissed.
Just this year on Consumeraffairs.com, 15 customers claimed fake profile scammers targeted them.
One woman lost $100,000; another lost $280,000 and another lost $530,000.
David McClellan runs Social Catfish, a website that spots fake profiles. He said the technology exists for Match.com and other sites to block scammers.
"They use a lot of the same descriptions in their profiles," McClellan said. "There's no doubt in my mind that they can do a lot more. This is not rocket science."
Davies, who is facing breast cancer for the second time, said that $300,000 could have covered so much of her treatment.
"I have no heart left because of this, I'm heartless," Davies said.
Match.com said it reviews each member profile to block addresses from high alert countries and red flag language.
All customers must sign a pledge not to send cash.
But, a spokesperson said it is like "whack-a-mole." The company deletes thousands of fake profiles, but thousands more pop up.
Action 9's advice is no matter what site you use, be suspicious if someone seems eager to get you off of that site, wants to call or text instead.
And, do not spend money, especially if the person said it is for medical expenses or travel expenses so you can be together.
Cox Media Group