If you receive one of these scam messages, it is important that you do not respond to it in any way.

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The man Rhonda Meade fell in love with promised to elope with her to a tropical island paradise where they could be married along white beaches as the setting sun shimmered across vast, crystal-clear waters.

But, the only thing that ran away from the 36-year-old single mother’s life of hardship would eventually be all her savings and the security she had entrusted with “Walter.”Meade, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was one of millions of people who flock to the Internet each year in search of romance and a long term relationship.

The scammers use a variety of stories to explain why they need your help to access the funds.

For example: As noted, the messages offer to let you keep a significant percentage of the funds in exchange for your assistance.

Advance fee scams are designed to trick people into sending their money and personal information to criminals.

These scams have been around in various forms for decades. Advance fee scams are commonly distributed via email, social media messages, and SMS.

If you have sent money to scammers, you should inform your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible.

Also, take steps to protect your identity by accessing information about identity theft published by the Federal Trade Commission (US), Scam Watch, (Australia) or Action Fraud (UK).

Occasionally, they may still be sent via surface mail and fax.

In years gone by, a great many of these scam messages were sent from the African nation of Nigeria.

The scammers will warn the victim that these advance fees need to be paid before the funds can be procured. The major purpose of these scam messages is to trick recipients into parting with their money in the form of these advance fees.