FBI warns of romance scams using online daters as money mules

Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Escape key not available with JavaScript disabled Leave this site. Well-meaning men and women have both fallen victim to this. Find out more about dating and romance scams below. Be wary of giving out personal information on a website or chatroom. Scammers will quickly contact you, often showing you glamorous photos of themselves and gaining your trust. They want you to talk on email, text and phone, rather than through the dating site or chatroom where you met. You must not. Likewise, never agree to keep your online relationship a secret. The circumstances may seem genuine, but you could unwittingly be laundering money, a criminal offence. They entice you to do this by offering discounts for bank transfer payments.

Dating, holiday and ticketing fraud

That may come as no surprise since tens of millions of U. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center, which I lead, has received calls from victims of online dating scams. In one instance, a male victim met someone through an online dating service. Here are two of the highest profile scams that have directly affected online dating participants:.

If you suspect fraud on a dating site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the platform immediately.

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. In the event you do lose money, be warned that your chances of getting it back are almost nil. Furthermore, this type of crime is not a priority for local police and it is difficult to prosecute these cases. The Embassy can offer a sympathetic ear, share information on protecting yourself against such scams, and help you determine if your situation is real or fraudulent, but cannot do much else.

Victims can report the scam to the FBI at www. The anonymity of the internet means that the U. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

For Richer Or Poorer? Romance Scams Are Leaving More Online Daters Broke

Ken Duffy KenDuffyNews. More people are turning to online dating for a semblance of companionship during the coronavirus crisis — sites often rife with sophisticated scams targeting Americans from overseas, the FBI warns. Singles might be using online dating sites like Match. But while it might be a nice way to have human contact online, it may leave people more vulnerable to scammers who want to drain bank accounts.

Romance scammers are targeting women on dating apps, using COVID They’d met on OurTime, a dating site for people over the age of But the money in those accounts was money Scott had wired in; she was just.

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.

9 things scammers tell you

Online dating sites are popular ways to meet someone new. Unfortunately, scammers sometimes use this platform to try to steal your heart and your money. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people. They profess their love early on, even though they have never met you. They often claim to be traveling, living or working abroad to explain why they are unable to meet in person. Once they have your romantic interest and your trust, they make up stories about how they urgently need money and ask you to wire it to them.

If you lost money or other possessions in a scam, report it to your local Report fake websites, emails, malware, and other internet scams to the.

The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds. Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online.

Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator. The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted.

Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules. The victim is then asked to receive and send money from that account.

Anatomy Of A Scam: Nigerian Romance Scammer Shares Secrets

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?

Federal law enforcement describe how to avoid dating site scams test them by coaxing a victim into handing over money based on sympathy.

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. She agreed. Soon they shifted to phone conversations, often lasting an hour, and to texting several times a day.

Floren said. How could she help sympathizing when he revealed that his wife and child had been killed in a car crash long ago?

Looking for love online? Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money

The growth of online dating has led to an explosion of catfishing and the combination of lust, infatuation or love means that innocent people can get manipulated or exploited. These relationships can go on for years and often end in tragic emotional or financial consequences for the victims. Catfishers can be driven by anything from loneliness to obsession or revenge. They can be motivated by the desire to live vicariously through a fake persona, to extort money from a victim, to make mischief or any number of other intentions.

Other sinister cases can involve sexual predators or stalkers who use this online anonymity to get close to their victims.

Social media networks and dating websites have become increasingly popular to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

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.

Beware of Online Dating Site Scams