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by  |  04-Jul-2019 18:07

One day, scrolling through an online forum, she met Wayne Mays (not his real name) from the UK.Mays is a romance scam-baiter, which means he hangs out on dating sites, posing as a naive love-seeker, with the goal of unmasking — and exhausting — confidence men and women.“You pretend to be a victim and string them along, try to get them to waste as much of their time, money, and resources as you can,” he says.

Five years ago, an Austrian woman decided to give online dating a try.

(She asked that I only use her internet handle, Firefly, for reasons that will soon become clear.) It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced.

Mays would post any identifying details that scammers used online — from the email addresses they created to the back stories they recycled — to make them searchable. But for Mays, who co-hosts a scam-baiting podcast, “it’s also like improve comedy.”Most people aren’t turning to him for comic relief, though.

Five years ago, he and a small team of international volunteers, including Firefly, created Scam Survivors, a hotline and information resource center for victims of online scams — mostly, as it turns out, romance scams.

Within the space of about three months, Firefly wired the equivalent of about $1,000 to Ghana.

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