Scammers recruiting money mules on dating sites is on the rise, says FBI

Many Americans are turning to the internet in order to search for love. Online dating and dating apps are the new wave of the future for both younger generations and older generations alike. And sadly the surge in online dating has also created a potential for scammers to target people looking for love. When using dating apps, it is extremely easy to create fake identities using stolen images that a scammer can hide behind. This scam can affect men and women of all ages because the scammer attempts to connect with their victims in a more personal way. Common scams these thieves use to exploit victims include asking for money for a family member with medical bills, claiming to be the victim of a robbery, or needing funds in order to meet or visit their significant other. Because these scammers have worked hard to fake an emotional attachment to their victim, it is obvious how someone could fall for the scam thinking that they are helping the person that they love. So what can you do to help protect yourself from such scams? Sharing financial information is an absolute no-no.

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We respect your privacy. All email addresses you provide will be used just for sending this story. Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.

According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud. The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.

Technically, online dating scams are part of what are known as “advanced fee” scams. The scammer usually requests money to visit the victim.

Do you have questions about your vision health? A Pew Research Center study revealed that nearly 60 percent of U. But seeking romantic bliss online can have a major downside: Cyberspace is full of scammers eager to take advantage of lonely hearts. The con works something like this: You post a dating profile and up pops a promising match — good-looking, smart, funny and personable.

This potential mate claims to live in another part of the country or to be abroad for business or a military deployment. But he or she seems smitten and eager to get to know you better, and suggests you move your relationship to a private channel like email or a chat app. Over weeks or months you feel yourself growing closer.

You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. Then you get an urgent request. He or she will promise to pay it back, but that will never happen. Phony suitors also seek out targets on social media, and they are increasingly active.

What’s the nature of your enquiry?

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.

Fraudsters are using dating sites not only to scout for people before scamming them out of money, but also to recruit ‘money mules’ for.

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. We advise U. Many Americans have reported losing thousands of dollars through such scams.

When love becomes a nightmare: Online dating scams

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed? More information. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.

They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction.

There’s an emergency (a medical problem, perhaps, or a business crisis), and your online companion needs you to wire money quickly.

The embrace of online dating services, such as dating apps or virtual places to meet people, is a phenomenon that has occurred worldwide. There are dozens of dating apps available; some operate globally, while others only work in some countries that have greater acceptance of them. But without a doubt, two of the most popular applications among the extensive great offerings that exist are Tinder and Happn , which claim more than 50 million users each.

Although they come in different flavors, in most cases the criminals committing romance scams study the profiles of their victims and collect personal information, such as their work activity, their level of income, and their lifestyle, because the mismanagement of our personal information in the digital age allows a criminal to build a fairly detailed profile of a future victim.

One of the most common methods is the scammer who emotionally manipulates the victim to send them money, gifts or personal information. Another type of common deception is sextortion, which usually begins as a normal relationship between two people who begin to know each other until the scammer tries to take the conversation off the dating platform, such as, for example, to WhatsApp. Last month, for example, in the United States a man who was the victim of this type of scam — he related an attack strategy similar to that in a case reported in Chile in — after having met the person through an online dating site and gained his trust, the scammer requested the sending of intimate photos.

Swipe right for love, err … money: Online dating alters how you spend

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.

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All rights reserved. Fraudsters are putting a lot of effort into their romance scam. They aren’t always staying online. Some build that trust with their victim by meeting in person and even going to the extent of moving in with their victim. Once this trust is built, that’s when they ask for financial assistance. Dating and social media sites can provide an opportunity for people to meet someone amazing. If you or someone you care about is going to venture into the world of online dating, understand the signs of a romance scammer:.

Skip To Content. The internet sites identified by the victims were: BigChurch. Protect yourself: Dating and social media sites can provide an opportunity for people to meet someone amazing.

Tell-tale signs your online date may be an online fraud

Dating and romance scams are very destructive — both financially and emotionally. These scams also cause significant emotional harm, with many victims reporting a break down in relationships with friends and family. With the proliferation of online dating websites, forums and social media channels, these scams are moving increasingly into the online space. Online communication channels allow scammers to operate anonymously from anywhere in the world.

Someone asks for money or your help moving money. The FTC explains that romance scammers are hard at work wooing people on dating apps.

Most of the defendants are Nigerians, the Associated Press reported. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. Army captain in his efforts to smuggle himself and his friends out of Syria. The woman met him online and had been emailing for 10 months. There was no such army captain. Romance-related scams are now the most costly form of online fraud, the Federal Trade Commission warned earlier this year.

In many of these scenarios, people are convinced by strangers they meet online — often on dating apps — to fork over money. The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased to more than 21, in , up from 8, in In a typical scenario, a victim meets someone through a dating website or other online space. Case in point: A woman came across a man on dating app Tinder claiming to be a U.

Army captain and quickly fell for him. He had promised to take care of her and her children, according to a report from Gizmodo , if he could just have money to get home. After that, he blackmailed her with nude photos for more money.

Woman catches online dating scam


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