Scam artists are tapping into the online dating market, and in two cases in Hampton Falls, have stolen thousands of dollars from women who thought they had a romantic relationship.
The Hampton Falls Police Department is investigating two cases of online fraud.
The local women were duped out of thousands of dollars they'll likely never recover, Police Chief Robbie Dirsa said.
It could happen to anyone, said Dirsa, whose officer, Jeremy Tetreault, spoke at an identity theft seminar in Hampton this past Thursday.
Dirsa described both victims as professional women scammed by expert salesmen.
One case began in January 2002, he said, after one woman met a man online through the Yahoo Personals. She loaned him, over the course of more than a year, $109,000 for his alleged trucking business, Dirsa said.
The couple had a few dates, Dirsa said, though police are investigating whether the man she dated is the same person she met online or someone sent to get the money. The man she dated is described as a white male, in his 50s. She said he lived in-state.
Police know very little about him, even though they have a name and an e-mail address.