I frequently get requests from friends and readers to help them save a loved one from a romance scam. Lots of money. The closer the date appears to be getting to the victim, the more unexpected calamities appear. The scammers seem to delight in torturing their victims and seeing just how outrageous they can make the stories be and still get paid. Many victims lose substantial sums of money, often their entire lifesavings. Some wealthy victims have lost millions of dollars.
Romance Fraud: know who you’re talking to
It can be surprisingly easy to fall prey to a romance scam — and has nothing to do with stupidity, an online fraud expert has warned. It is a ‘romance’ between people who never meet, based purely on text messages, internet liaisons and phone calls. Yet victims all too often are willing to give away thousands of dollars and risk facilitating a crime.
But a counsellor who works with such victims on a daily basis said the scenario was “way more complex”. Ms Malet-Warden said to prompt someone to fall in love with a scammer, the victim was first “seeded” with an idea. The fraud is called an “advanced feed fraud” as the victim gives money expecting to get it back and all sorts of false ID is provided to let the victim believe they will get the money back.
Scammers are using new online platforms to take advantage of their an online relationship but have been caught up in a dating and romance.
According to the U. The case involved 32 confirmed victims, many of which were elderly, in the U. No Canadians have been confirmed to be victims. Authorities have arrested 14 people across the U. However, many of the accused are believed to be abroad. In some cases the victims thought they were communicating with military members stationed overseas. According to documents detailing the count indictment, one woman was targeted by an alleged scammer who claimed to be a U.
TwoNigerian citizens who resided in Los Angeles, have been identified by authorities as the so-called ring leaders of the alleged scheme. They allegedly coordinated with a network of scammers who operated fraudulent bank accounts and laundered the money collected worldwide, keeping a cut for themselves. Stolen funds were withdrawn as cash and fed through illicit money exchangers to move funds overseas, the indictment alleges. According to the CAFC, online dating users should be wary if:. According to the CAFC, online dating users should be wary if: Someone you haven’t met in person professes their love to you, or asks you to be in a long-distance relationship.
They claim to live nearby, but work overseas.
‘Are You Real?’ — Inside an Online Dating Scam
Correspondents may cultivate the relationship for several months before asking for money, but if they are after your money, eventually they will ask for it. Before you send any money to Ghana, please take the time to do your research and inform yourself. Start by considering the fact that scams are common enough to warrant this warning. Next, look over this partial list of indicators. If any of them sound familiar, you are likely the victim of an internet scam.
The FBI Warns of Criminals Using Online Dating Sites to Target Victims and as romance scammers often use stolen images in order to avoid being caught.
While 14 arrests have been made, a count federal grand jury indictment unsealed on Thursday Aug. The unsealed indictment shows the evolving tactics of online fraudsters which has seen them continue to dupe unwitting victims despite numerous awareness campaigns about the online scams. Through business email compromise scams BEC , fraudsters use hacked email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either bogus or similar to actual payments owed to legitimate companies.
As part of the scam, fraudsters learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for the payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies and then target businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments, Paul Delacourt, FBI assistant director in charge of the case said in a press briefing.
Before his arrest, Okeke had posed a successful entrepreneur and was featured on a Forbes under list as well a BBC Focus on Africa program. With long-running romance scam tactics through dating websites already well-known, fraudsters have gone as far as impersonating US soldiers and then seeking lovers on social media, particularly Facebook.
In some cases, rather than being asked to send money, victims of romance scams are deployed as money mules whose banks accounts are used to move illicit funds or are talked into opening accounts on behalf of criminals. US law enforcement have recently received complaints of such scams in all 50 states in the US, authorities also say. The high profile arrests have also triggered extreme reactions among Nigerians at home and abroad, many of whom daily experience the cost of national stereotyping that comes with the well-covered activity of online fraudsters, particularly with the wide spread of email scam attempts.
These costs range from increased scrutiny for visa processes , a lack of trust when attempting to do business internationally and being restricted from using international payment platforms. US officials say the busted ring was led by US-based operatives who facilitated the scams by opening US bank accounts where victims were directed to deposit money.
Operatives then laundered the stolen funds through these accounts, ultimately funneling them to Nigeria and pocketing the proceeds. Beyond the arrests that have already been made, the US is working with foreign counterparts to arrest 57 more indicted subjects.
When love becomes a nightmare: Online dating scams
The US Department of Justice DOJ on Thursday unsealed a count, page federal indictment charging 80 defendants — most of them Nigerian nationals — with conspiring to steal millions of dollars through online frauds that targeted businesses, the elderly and women. Federal authorities cited the case of one of those romance-scam victims during a news conference on Thursday.
Over the course of 10 months, Garcia described in daily emails his scheme to smuggle diamonds out of the country. She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her.
If you were, you may have joined the ranks of 50 million Americans who have ventured into online dating. It’s big business. Not just for the online.
Attorney Craig Carpenito. The following details from this case were taken from court documents and statements:. The most common story used by Sarpong and his conspirators was that they were military personnel stationed in Syria who were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many of the victims their money would be reimbursed once the gold bars arrived in the United States. In one case, a conspirator claimed he was a U.
He sent her a fictitious airway bill showing that two trunks with “family treasure” would be sent to her, along with a fake United Nations Identity Card that identified him as an Israeli citizen and UN delivery agent. The next day she died by suicide. Authorities say Sarpong and his conspirators used various email accounts and Voice Over Internet protocol phone numbers to communicate with the victims and instruct them where to wire money.
Authorities say the funds were then withdrawn in cash, wired to other domestic bank accounts and wired to conspirators in Ghana. According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, Sarpong was active on social media and “bragged about his wealth. Authorities say on March 2, , Sarpong posted a photograph of himself sitting in a car with a large stack of money up to his ear like a cellphone with a caption that read “WakeUp With k
Caught in a Bad Romance: How to Avoid Online Dating Scams
McClellan and Social Catfish spoke to an actual romance scammer from Nigeria in The scammer shared specific details about the scam and even sent a page playbook full of ways to lure in victims, or “clients as the scammer calls them. It starts by creating a fake profile to lure in lonely victims.
Scammers can target you online, by phone or by email. Know what to look for so you can spot a scam and protect yourself. Credit card scams. Scammers don’t.
Sasha-Ann Simons. According to the FBI, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other internet crimes. The ideal partner turns out to be a sophisticated scam artist, and a love-struck single is left not only broken-hearted — but broke. Being scammed by a romantic interest met online is now the most common type of consumer fraud in the United States, according to the Federal Trade Commission FTC.
In , nearly 40 D. And the criminal acts go beyond city and state borders, involving networks of accomplices overseas. Like many victims of online scams, Ann has kept her story private for the past three years, overwhelmed by feelings of shame. The vibrant year-old from Reston was once a homeowner making good money.
9 things scammers tell you
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. He was the answer to her prayers. Before she knew it, her savings were gone. And the man of her dreams?
Dating Coach | Feb 4, By Lisa Copeland RELATED: Report: Every 3 hours, an online dater gets scammed. 1. Scammers feed off Thousands of intelligent women get caught up in these scams every year. To keep your journey of.
A 19 News investigation reveals scammers are getting people in our state to send them millions of dollars, thinking they found a soulmate. It’s Valentine’s Day eve and experts are warning you not to let anyone steal more than your heart. You don’t want to miss this special report coming up tonight at 11 on 19 News. After helping him send what she thought were donations to an orphanage and money for a knee surgery, Robb realizes her heart was not the only thing this man stole.
As if the aftermath of a romance scam is not devastating enough for someone to go through, Harris says there are more scammers who will try to swoop in after the damage is done. They can be reached at Posted by Hannah Catlett on Thursday, February 13, She met him online. He said his name was Gerald Donovan. She was even happier when Gerald told her he would become a Christian to date her.