This Year Marks Our 25th Year
25 Years Ago We Started On America Online Warning About Online Fraud
We began our quest to educate and inform about scams, frauds, and cons, 25 years ago on the old AOL.
We started with an American Online forum about AOL cons.
About a year and a half later, we became aware of people in the dating and romance forums getting scammed as well. So we created a new forum for Romance Scams. Yes that name was in use then. It was coined by a group member (wish we could remember who). At one point we had over 100,000 voices participating in this emerging type of online fraud.
Here is an old screen shot from about 1993
Even in the early days on America Online, any number of frauds were running. Our own principal was a victim of one of these then. The Nigerians were running letter scams in the U.S. and the U.K. and making decent money, but when they discovered AOL they started getting creative with their 419 scams. However, we started to see real Romance Scams by about late ’92 – mostly with fraudsters in each country. These were the same con-men and women that were engaged in other kinds of locally-based frauds. They figured out that they could create a fake personality and connect with victims to scam they money. Western Union was only too happy to transfer the money, and it wasn’t even much of a crime then. In those days, the scammers were not as greedy as today, and settled for small amounts that wouldn’t bring much police attention.
By 1995 we were on the web, as a subsection of the TigerDirect.com website, since our principal was a co-founder and senior executive of TigerDirect. He published a large section on their website about retail and other kinds of fraud under his webmaster’s page. In 1998, it was ported to a new website, which was published until 2012. At which point that website was shut down, and the new Romance Scams Now website was launched.
We, and other outstanding groups, such as RomanceScam.com and others, have worked tirelessly to help educate about online fraud, expose scammers, support enforcement where possible, and increase overall awareness of the world of online scams.
Thank you for your support over the years.
Together We Are Making A Difference!