According to court documents filed by the SEC, Connerton spent $20,000 for an engagement ring for his latest online date/investor. He convinced more than 50 people to invest in Safety Technologies (his fraudulent company), including six women whom he met on a dating website and 14 others who are family or friends of those women.
Connerton isn't the only man to use online dating as a way to scam women. Back in 2014, four men in London were jailed after trying to scam a dozen women on Match.com using the profile "James Richards."
"James" told the emotionally vulnerable women that he was getting a huge inheritance from his father, but it was "tied up." He then started asking for legal fees and other money. Not all of the women were taken in by the scam, but those who were lost money and were left heartbroken by the ruse.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Miles, who deals with fraud and cybercrime, explained how these scammers work. "In a typical scam, the fraudster identifies potential victims through a dating site. He then tailors his personality to suit what the victim is looking for. Compliments are usually offered and questions asked of the woman so that the fraudster can ascertain how much money the woman has and whether the scam is worth pursuing."
Debbie Best thought she had finally found the right guy, but what she had actually found was a con man. She met "John" through the dating site Mingle2. He claimed to be a soldier and explained that was why they couldn't meet in person. After he spent months courting her, he started asking for money.
The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command told CNN they receive hundreds of reports every month from people fooled by someone claiming to be a soldier. "We cannot stress enough that people need to stop sending money to persons they meet on the Internet and claim to be in the U.S. military," Chris Grey, the Army CID's spokesman said in a statement.
The best way to avoid getting scammed is to be on the lookout for the signs. Someone asking for money or asking a lot of questions without offering up personal information about themselves are both red flags. Scammers often tell you exactly what you want to hear. The old saying is true: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.