9 NEWS -- July 26 -- A software programmer and former model discovered that his picture was used for an online dating scam. "It's an off-shoot of the original Nigerian scam," according to Lon Garner of the Secret Service. The original scam asked people to invest in oil and gas and evolved into sweepstakes-type scams where you had to send in money to win. This new version of the scam targets online dating sites. If you're registered with online dating and someone asks you for money, experts say you should hit delete. If you have what you think is this type of mailing, where someone asks you for money, send the information to the U.S. Secret Service in Denver. Tel: 303-866-1010.
Mark Brooks: I'm still amazed people get duped into sending money...but the scammers are expert at playing on people's heart strings, which makes these kind of scams all the more brutal. The emotional damage can be as bad and worse than the financial hurt. Please, users, follow the simple rule. DON'T SEND MONEY TO PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE ONLY MET ONLINE. (Especially if they are abroad, especially if they write in broken English). And don't receive and forward packages. Case in point, Joe Hunk asks unwitting Debbie Dating Site User to forward a laptop to him in Nigeria because his business computer just failed...after a couple of months of romancing by instant messenger. She thinks nothing of it and forwards the package only to find it was bought on a stolen credit card and she, as the receiver, is now liable for the laptop.