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Widow Seeking Companionship Online Left Heartbroken Again After Being Catfished

Liza Likins, a former backup singer for music legends like Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt, got catfished after her husband's passing.
Cover Image Source: Representative Image | Pexels | Photo by Designecologist
Cover Image Source: Representative Image | Pexels | Photo by Designecologist

In the digital world, where connections are made with a wipe on smartphone screens and love seems just a message away, scammers are lurking around to prey on vulnerable hearts. In a world where the only thing worse than loneliness is deception, Liza Likins, a former backup singer for music legends like Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt, found herself ensnared in a web of deceit after the passing of her beloved husband.

Image Source: Photo by Qwe | Pexels 

For four months, Likins resisted the advances of a blond-haired man with a striking resemblance to her late husband of 23 years, messaging her on Facebook. However, she eventually succumbed to the charms of "Donald," a man who claimed to mine gold in Australia.

"I fell deeply, deeply in love with this person. It went on for almost 2 ½ years," she confessed. Likins unwittingly became a victim of a romance scam, entrusting over $1 million to someone who falsely claimed affection for her and promised to join her in Las Vegas. After realizing that she had been scammed, she said, "Now I know that he is a criminal. I know he's a major criminal who preys on lonely, widowed women."

Image Source: Photo by cottonbro studio |Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Cottonbro Studio | Pexels

Romance scams typically involve perpetrators creating fake identities and manipulating their victims into forming emotional connections before exploiting them for financial gain. The anonymity afforded by the internet provides scammers with the perfect cloak to conceal their true intentions, making it increasingly challenging for victims to discern reality from fiction.

The impact of these scams extends far beyond financial losses, leaving emotional scars that may take years to heal. Victims like Likins are left grappling with feelings of betrayal, shame, and profound loss, struggling to reconcile the person they thought they knew with the cruel reality of their deception.

Pexels |  Asad Photo Maldives
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Asad Photo Maldives

Likins' harrowing experience is not an isolated incident but rather a pervasive issue that has affected countless individuals across the globe. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), money lost to romance scams totaled $1.14 billion in 2023 alone. This staggering figure, along with a total of 64,003 reported cases, shows the extent of such schemes in today's times.

The FTC warns that romance scams remain a significant threat to unsuspecting individuals, particularly those grappling with feelings of loneliness and isolation. The desire for companionship and the promise of love often blind victims to the red flags that might otherwise signal danger.

Image Source: Pexels/Budgeron Bach
Image Source: Pexels/Budgeron Bach

In response to the growing threat posed by romance scams, organizations, and law enforcement agencies have ramped up efforts to raise awareness and combat this pervasive issue. 

Moreover, various dating platforms are raising their voice against these scams, integrating features to help users protect themselves from romance scams. Recently, Bumble introduced a new feature powered by generative AI to tackle the issue of catfishing on its dating platform. This innovative addition enables the app to detect suspicious accounts that may be attempting to deceive users.

By analyzing patterns in user behavior and profile information, the app can identify potential red flags indicative of fraudulent activity. This approach helps to safeguard users from falling victim to scams by alerting them to dubious profiles.