Romance scams involve the promise of romantic companionship or love, but end up resulting in loss for the person who is scammed. Romance scams typically involve obtaining money or other items of value through false pretenses. Trust is gained by pretending to be a potential romantic partner. There are many different kinds of romance scams, some of which take place internationally, and dating fraud of any type can result in criminal charges for those who are accused of operating scams. Being charged for Internet dating fraud or dating site scams can mean facing federal charges or state charges, either of which can carry long prison sentences. It is not uncommon for involvement with an online dating scam to lead to indictment on multiple counts.
When Romance Is a Scam
Please contact customerservices lexology. A romance scam occurs when two people contact each other on a dating app or elsewhere on the internet. Communications unfold between the two people with the purported goal of finding love. However, while one of the two people is intent on finding a dream match, the other person seeks to earn trust to fleece money over time from the innocent dating victim.
an alleged romance scam ring operating out of Nigeria, after an FTC Scarlet Widow created profiles on mainstream dating sites and apps.
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What You Need to Know About Romance Scams
The criminals who lured her into an online scam last summer approached her not on a dating site, where she might have been wary, but through the neighborhood hub called Nextdoor. He also lived in her Chicago neighborhood, he told her, specifying a street. Could they have a conversation? Floren, who is 67 and a part-time educational consultant. They chatted on the site for a week or so.
Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you. Research the person’s photo and profile using online.
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. The indictment was unsealed after law enforcement arrested 14 defendants across the US, with 11 of those arrests taking place around Los Angeles. Two of the defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, and one was arrested earlier last week.
The hunt is still on for most of the remaining defendants, who are believed to be abroad — mostly in Nigeria. According to the criminal complaint, which was also unsealed on Thursday, the two heads of the conspiracy were Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson, California, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena, California, both Nigerian citizens.
They were basically brokers of bank accounts, the indictment alleges: co-conspirators would allegedly contact Iro and Igbokwe in order to set them up with bank and money-service accounts that could receive the funds they allegedly scammed out of victims. They moved money from Nigerian bank accounts they controlled to the Nigerian bank accounts specified by Iro and Igbokwe. The two alleged ringleaders would set up bank accounts with a specific business name, if necessary, to trick companies into making payments.
Those statements would then be presented to banks when the fake accounts were opened.
Watch out, Nigerian con artists no longer hide behind princes in an attempt to steal your cash
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A recent study indicates that 15 percent of American adults use online dating websites or mobile applications. As the number of people looking to meet new people.
Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC. Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts.
The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous. They also know the transactions are almost impossible to reverse.
If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card , contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money. Notify the website or app where you met the scammer, too. Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.
N.J. couple charged in $6M dating site scam that bilked at least 33 victims
Official websites use. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. Ten men have been charged with conspiring to launder illegal proceeds that were fraudulently obtained as a result of Nigerian romance scam operation targeting multiple victims.
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.
Federal law enforcement describe how to avoid dating site scams
Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a year-old from sunny San Jose, California. There’s one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed.
They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari.
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Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.
According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don’t realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one. Romance scammers are experts in social manipulation and can sound very convincing.
Many of the signs of a romance scammer are subtle and insidious because the scammer is trying to build trust before they exploit you. Often times, the first sign of an online dating scam shows up when a romance scammer expresses strong emotions in a relatively short period of time. Guard your personal information carefully, and be wary if a new love interest asks for personal details soon after contact. Be suspicious of anyone who asks you for financial assistance, no matter how dire their circumstances seem to be.