Online dating and romance scams: How to spot and avoid them
Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said. After making initial contact through dating and social media sites with phony identities, the thieves struck up what appeared to be romantic relationships with the victims either through email or on the phone, Carpentio said. They then got the victims to send them money for bogus emergencies — customs fees, taxes or medical expenses, for instance, the U.
Money was wired via Western Union or MoneyGram to bank accounts held by Inalegwu and Mathieu in the United States or conspirators overseas or simply mailed checks directly to them, Carpenito said. Postal Inspection Service and his own office with the investigation. Click here to sign up for Daily Voice’s free daily emails and news alerts.
Internet dating scams are on the increase, here, Insight advise on how to avoid Most Dating sites operate strict controls in an attempt to ‘vet’ their members but as they (6) Have they asked for a cash payment to be made via Western Union.
A romance scam, dating scam, or catfishing is a swindle where someone tries to lure another into giving them money through a dating site, email romance, or other dating-related contact. This article focuses on the folks who have already fallen prey to a dating scam, and what they can do about it. The first step is to stop communicating with the person trying to romance scam you. Don’t answer their phone calls, block all of their emails or send them to a folder reserved for future litigation purposes , and don’t reply to their instant messages whether in a chat program, on your cell phone, or at a dating site.
Make hard copies of everything the dating scammer gave or sent to you and keep them in a file or binder for safekeeping. Most dating scams are perpetrated through Western Union. If this is how you sent the funds, check with the company to see if they can be canceled before being picked up. When the dating scam occurs through a dating site, make sure to report it through their website.
Victims should also check out the FBI’s website dedicated to online fraud called Looks Too Good To Be True , which offers scam reporting for citizens of any country, regardless of their location. You may also want to contact the local authorities, although they may not be able to help with much else than the documentation needed in the next step of this process. Unfortunately, by falling prey to a romance scam, you’ve also opened yourself up to identity theft—take the appropriate precautions with that in mind.
Because you’ve already been a victim of a romance scam, you’ll be put on a contact list for other fraudulent folks to contact you. Be aware of this by not accepting chats or email contact with random strangers, and block contact with anyone on dating sites that doesn’t fall within a certain geographic range.
NJ Man Posed as Soldier to Scam Online Daters Out of $2.1 Million, Officials Say
Thousands of people in fell victim to romance scams that began as a seemingly budding new relationship, and ended in drained bank accounts, potentially criminal charges, fines, and even jail time. The Better Business Bureau says these sites are rife with fraudsters looking to use affection to manipulate people out of their money. Romance scammers typically contact their victims through dating sites, apps, or social media, often using fake profiles and even stolen credit card information.
Using these false identities, scammers may spend months grooming their victims, building what the victim believes to be a loving relationship, before asking for money to handle an emergency or travel expenses.
Scammers may then ask their victims to leave the dating site and use personal like Western Union or MoneyGram, or a prepaid money card, like Green Dot.
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
Number of cases rose from to in only two years. Romance scammers create personal profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people for the purpose of asking others to contact them. This is often known as catfishing. Communications are exchanged between the scammer and victim over a period of time until the scammer feels they have connected with the victim enough to ask for money.
These requests may be for gas money, bus or airplane tickets to visit the victim, medical or education expenses. There is usually the promise the scammer will one day join the victim in the victim’s home. The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money. Criminal networks defraud lonely people around the world with false promises of love and romance. Some romance scammers seek out a victim with an obscure fetish and will make the victim think that if they pay for the scammer’s plane ticket, they will get to live out their sexual fantasy with the scammer.
Other scammers like to entice victims to perform sexual acts on webcam.
How to spot online romance scams
Be sure everything is as it seems. They use any means to contact victims—telephone, snail mail, email, and the Internet. They gain your trust and when they have you hooked, they ask you for money; then they take it and run. The scenarios they use to lure you in change, constantly. But you can protect yourself and your friends and family by arming yourself with knowledge of the most common types of fraud.
A data review by Arkose Labs found human-driving online fraud on dating websites and social media was up a sharp 82 percent in the last half of The online-fraud prevention site found that at least every two in five login attempts and about 20 percent of new account registrations were fraudulent making this one of the highest rates of cyberattack in any industry.
Keep reading: Nigerian ‘romance’ scammers, charged in online dating scheme, caught in Norman, Dallas. Arkose reports are often run by carried out by low-paid workers in sweatshop-style organizations. For the study, Arkose looked at user sessions and attack patterns from October through December More: Single and ready to mingle? Texas third best state for singles. The Federal Trade Commission reported that in , there were more than 25, complaints filed about romance scams.
In the past two years, losses from such scams were higher than any other scams reported to the FTC. The Better Business Bureau received more than 1, complaints about online dating services in Thousands of people in the United States are swindled out of money through online dating, social media or email connections. Others are reading: 2 Dallas men plead guilty to committing federal hate crimes targeting gay men using Grindr.
Think you’re lucky in love? At first, it seems like the perfect match. As the relationship develops, you start to talk seriously about meeting each other face-to-face. When the request for money to help with travel expenses comes, you send the money.
In this type of fraud a scammer locates their victims on dating websites such as In most cases the scammer will ask the victim to use Western Union, Money.
In addition to Michigan, 49 states and the District of Columbia participated in this settlement. The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers who have been the victims of fraud use Western Union to wire money to scam artists. That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes the following elements:.
In addition to this settlement with the states, Western Union also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers with the Federal Trade Commission and U. Department of Justice that was announced on January 19, The Department of Justice is in the process of hiring a claims administrator to manage the refund process. You can reach the complaint department at It is important to keep a few tips in mind to help consumers avoid falling victim to wire transfer scams:.
New Jersey Man Allegedly Scammed $2 Million From Women Through Dating Sites
While many legitimate websites help to bring people together every day, stories of online dating scams are a regular occurrence. Facebook scams: will they take complaints about fake adverts seriously? The majority of fraudulent cases involve someone setting up a fake identity using stolen photos and pretending to start a relationship with their victim.
Protecting yourself from the online romance.
Scammers are getting more and more creative when it comes to extorting information and money from residents of Saskatchewan. Gunson went on to say, country-wide, there were victims who reported romance fraud, but the romance scam presented the highest dollar loss in Saskatchewan compared to the high number of reported extortion scams. In some cases the suspect will even attempt to get the victim to commit fraud on their behalf, as a money mule accepting, then transferring money or goods often unknowingly.
Most romance scams begin via social media sites or online dating sites. Be wary when someone you meet on social media wants to quickly move to a private mode of communication email, text. If trying to set up an in-person meeting, be suspicious if they always have an excuse not to meet. Never send intimate photos or video of yourself. The scammer may try to use these to blackmail you into sending money. Be cautious when conversing with an individual that claims to live close to you but is working overseas.
Never under any circumstance send money for any reason. The scammer will make it seem like an emergency, they may even express distress or anger to make you feel guilty but do not send money.
The latest news on romance scams
Updated May 31, These are the foot soldiers in a global scamming enterprise that’s breaking hearts and stealing billions of dollars. In a tiny flat in Ghana, in west Africa, an aspiring entrepreneur trawls Facebook for divorced and widowed women on the other side of the world. The year-old, who calls himself Kweiku, is searching for ‘clients’ — scammer parlance for victims who can be conned online into sending money.
Kweiku sells perfume on the streets of Ghana’s capital, Accra, to maintain a meagre income between Western Union transfers from a woman he seduces online.
Make sure you don’t get your heart broken by a romance scam. The internet is littered with dating websites, from MySingleFriend, PlentyofFish This does not apply to overseas banks or facilities such as Western Union or Moneygram etc.
For example, and may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run dating bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street. The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it common you are able to lend them format to cover scammers or dating format expenses.
Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but scammers scammers just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity. Alternatively they may format you to buy the goods yourself and dating them somewhere.
You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. Warning – the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a format offence. Never agree scammers transfer money for someone else. They will tell you they scammers your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you common dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences.
Avoid a Valentine’s Day hangover: Don’t fall for a romance scam
Rubbin Sarpong, 35, of Millville, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Investigators said Sarpong and his conspirators set up online dating profiles using fake or stolen identities and posed as United States military personnel who were stationed overseas. They allegedly contacted their victims and formed online relationships with them before asking them for money, claiming they needed it to pay for shipping gold bars to the United States.
Between January of and Sept. Sarpong posted photos of himself on social media posing with large amounts of cash, high-end cars and expensive jewelry, according to officials.
In a tech-savvy world, it is common for couples to meet online through dating websites or apps. Unfortunately, not everyone joining these dating.
Since the large adoption of the internet, the online dating industry moved to set a new standard in the way we find our soulmates. And it worked. According to a study from the University of Chicago, compared to marriages between couples who meet in real life, marriages between couples whose relationships are formed through an online dating site are more likely to last. Unfortunately, with the rise of online dating services came the birth of romance scams. Romance scams target wealthy women, sometimes widows, who are looking for a new relationship and men who are looking for extra-marital relationships.
In most cases, the goal is to defraud the victim out of money. According to the FTC , victims between the ages of 40 and 69 were scammed at the highest rates, while victims aged 70 and above reported the biggest losses. After registering on a dating website, the victim meets a hacker impersonating a handsome man. Most of the time, this man will have the same nationality as the victim. At the time of contact, he is on a business trip abroad, in the military, or, in the case of high-profile romance scam out of Australia, sailing.
Written and audio messages will be exchanged between the scammer and their victim. Exchanges will intensify, often over a period of a few weeks or a few months—enough time for the victim to get emotionally attached.