Scammers prey on the victim's false sense of a relationship to lure them into sending 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. Victims may be invited to travel to the scammer's country; in some cases the victims arrive with asked-for gift money for family members or bribes for corrupt officials, only to be beaten and robbed or murdered.
Criminal networks defraud lonely people around the world with false promises of love and romance. Because the scammers are working in groups, someone in the group can be online and available to send e-mail or text messages to the victim at any hour. According to Australia government,  the crime has also been in the rise in Australia.
The site provides information about current scams, warning signs and staying safe online. 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. They then record their victims, play back the recorded images or videos to them, and then extort money to prevent them from sending the recordings to friends, family, or employers, often discovered via social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
The pro-dater differs from other scams in method of operation: a face-to-face meeting actually does take place in the scammer's country but for the sole purpose of manipulating the victim into spending as much money as possible in relatively little time, with little or nothing in return. The scheme usually involves accomplices, such as an interpreter or a taxi driver, each of whom must be paid by the victim at an inflated price.
The vendors are also typically part of the scheme. After the victim has left, the merchandise is returned to the vendors and the pro-dater and their various accomplices take their respective cut of the take. As the pro-dater is eager to date again, the next date is immediately set up with the next wealthy foreigner.
The supposed relationship goes no further, except to inundate the victim with requests for more money after they return home. Another variation of the romance scam is when the scammer insists they need to marry in order to inherit millions of dollars of gold left by a father, uncle, or grandfather. A young woman will contact a victim and tell him of her plight: not being able to remove the gold from her country as she is unable to pay the duty or marriage taxes.
The woman will be unable to inherit the fortune until she gets married, the marriage being a prerequisite of the father, uncle or grandfather's will. The scammer convinces their victim they are sincere until they are able to build up enough of a rapport to ask for thousands of dollars to help bring the gold into the victim's country.
The scammer will offer to fly to the victim's country to prove they are a real person so the victim will send money for the flight. However, the scammer never arrives. The victim will contact the scammer to ask what happened, and the scammer will provide an excuse such as not being able to get an exit visa, or an illness, theirs or a family member.
A rapidly growing technique scammers use is to impersonate American military personnel. Scammers prefer to use the images, names and profiles of soldiers as this usually inspires confidence, trust and admiration in their victims. These scammers tell their victims they are lonely, or supporting an orphanage with their own money, or needing financial assistance because they cannot access their own money in a combat zone.
The money is always sent to a third party to be collected for the scammer. Sometimes the third party is real, sometimes fictitious. Funds sent by Western Union and MoneyGram do not have to be claimed by showing identification if the sender sends money using a secret pass phrase and response.
The money and can be picked up anywhere in the world. Some scammers may request Bitcoin as an alternative payment method. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Advance-fee scam. Law portal Society portal. Beware of Online Dating Scams". The New York Times. ISSN Retrieved 13 November Retrieved 30 April Archived from the original on 8 December Archived from the original on 20 September Retrieved 11 September Retrieved 5 November Gimlet Media.
Retrieved 20 February The Atlantic. Once you know how to tell if someone is scamming you online, you should have better success avoiding online dating scams, and you will maintain better overall online safety. If you are concerned that you or a loved one has fallen victim to an online dating scam, you should report your experience to whichever online dating or social media site you were on. You should also file a complaint with the FTC. When you know how to report a dating scammer, it can be empowering.
Many times, victims who report a scam feel a sense of relief after notifying authorities. Not only can it help with their personal circumstance, it can also prevent people from falling victim to the romance scammer in the future. Once you report a suspected scam, your financial institution will work with you on the next steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay updated on the latest online scams and ways to avoid them.
Cindy Schubert is the Senior Vice President of Operations at Security National Bank, overseeing informational technology and other bank support services. She has nearly three decades of financial operations experience, and has served at SNB since If your heart is in the right place, your money should end up there, too! Watch out for these 5 telltale warning signs of a fake charity.
The safest way to buy things online during the holidays is to follow these simple tips. Your browser is extremely outdated and not web standards compliant. Your browsing experience would greatly improve by upgrading to a modern browser. Source: Federal Trade Commission. By Cindy Schubert Senior V. Related Articles. Five Telltale Signs of a Charity Scam December 1, If your heart is in the right place, your money should end up there, too!
How to Shop Safely Online This Holiday Season November 23, The safest way to buy things online during the holidays is to follow these simple tips.
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