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When Theresa Smalley received a note from Richie last January asking if she wanted to chat, she was flattered. The two began exchanging e-mails, friendly at first, but quickly swelling in intensity and passion.

By Valentine's Day, Smalley received a box of chocolate candy, a teddy bear, and a helium balloon that said "I love you." Smalley, 46, was hooked, even though she had never met him.

The group is trying to publicize the problem to limit the damage. Now, I get one every couple of weeks or so because it's the easiest way to get somebody hooked," Ferguson said. We don't want people to be taken in." But they are, said Donna Gregory, supervisory internet crime specialist at the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center. "We've even seen them take as long as a year (to seduce a mark)," Gregory said.

"How many people are out there thinking they found the love of their life and they have no clue what's happening? "The first thing most people say to me when they contact me is, 'I can't believe I was so stupid.' " Sweetheart scams appear to be on the rise, said Julie Ferguson, executive director of the Merchant Risk Council, which tracks scams for online retailers. "The stories are so-gut-wrenching sad." Some scammers seem to deliberately target groups set up for Christian singles, she said, where people may be less likely to be suspicious. Con artists will hunt for people's weaknesses, find out what they care about -- such as Grateful Dead music -- and then go in for the kill.

Smalley agreed, and over the next two weeks, she cashed two 0 money orders and sent along the funds. 'My whole world had fallen apart' "The bank told me I was responsible for that money. Smalley shared her version of events with in the hopes that others might not fall for the same trickery.

Then, Richie was ready to leave the country, but needed money to deal with a visa problem. I had to pay them ,700, which was everything I had," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever known that this is all a part of an elaborate online scam. agencies have issued warnings on the scams, also known as "419" or "advance-fee" frauds.

In the file section (Files) of this Yahoo Group, there are files relating to the original FUNcube Dongle (no longer available) – FCD firmware, SDR software and User Guides.

Richie said his boss paid him in postal money orders, and he was having trouble cashing them. Could she cash the money order for him, then wire the money to him in Nigeria? But a friend pointed her to an Internet site devoted to Nigerian scams, and suddenly, Smalley's world crashed down around her.

AMSAT-UK’s FUNcube is an educational satellite project with the goal of enthusing and educating young people about radio, space, physics and electronics.

It will support the educational Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives.

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