How A Billion-Dollar Internet Scam Is Breaking Hearts And Bank Accounts | HuffPost Life
Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. . Nigerian scams involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large sum. Feds Ask Victims Of Nigerian Internet Scam To Step Forward system of internet -based financial fraud schemes, that include romance scams. By KATE HALIM. YEAR-OLD Rebecca Philips was recently scammed by a man she met in a dating chat room. After months of almost.
The money could be cash, gold bullion, blood diamonds, gold dust, checks etc. The sums usually run up to millions of dollars with the victim being promised a huge chunk of it for their "help".
Like all scams, there is a last minute problem and you will be requested to send some money to ensure everything goes smoothly. Needless to say that is the last you will hear of your apparent fortune. Sometimes scammers figure out you are onto them but instead of backing off, they take advantage of the situation by pretending to be the police.
So say you have been duped by a Nigerian scammer and you contact the Nigerian police for help.
You might get an email apparently from the Nigerian police telling you they have closed in on the scammer and need a payment from you before they can arrest him.
This is definitely a scam because the police no matter which country will never request money to catch a criminal!
How A Billion-Dollar Internet Scam Is Breaking Hearts And Bank Accounts
Have a look at the email address — something like nigerianpolice hotmail. Money Order Cash Requests As opposed to some of the other scams, in this type of scam the fraudster takes their time to build a relationship with their victim. After a few months when the scammer is convinced they have formed a bond with their victim, they request the victim to cash some money orders and wire transfer the money to t hem usually to Nigeria or Ghana.
The scammer pretends to be someone from a Western country based in Nigeria for work and hence cannot cash the money orders. Once the victim cashes it and wires the money, the bank usually detects a forged money order and the victim is then liable for the entire amount while the scammer gets away scot-free and richer by a few thousand dollars. Lottery Scam Have you ever received an email or even an actual letter telling you you've won an obscenely large amount in a lottery you never entered?
It's definitely a scam so please do not send them any financial details because you're just setting yourself up for a fraud or identity theft. Phony Inheritance Claims Similar to the lottery scam, these scams revolve around you receiving an inheritance that you previously had no knowledge of. There are a few variations of this type of fraud but the bottom line is they are all scams.
Some will write to you telling you they are "estate locators" who have located a long lost inheritance for you. Others might be from someone in Africa claiming to have received a huge inheritance which they want to share with you if you can help them get the money out of the country.
The scamsters will typically ask for your bank details so they can deposit the money into your account and once they have those details, they will rob you of your money.
Disaster Relief Scam Every time there is a disaster like the tsunami, a tornado or an earthquake, millions of do-gooders want to do something to help the victims. Scammers take advantage of this by setting up scam charity institutions which rob the money that you wanted to send to the victims of the disaster. Scammers also attempt phishing by sending you donation requests via email where you can click on a link which then leads you to website designed to steal your passwords and other details.
Sometimes, scammers also take advantage of disaster situations by pretending to be a victim themselves. For example, an earthquake in the Philippines affects millions and the scammer sees this as an opportunity to ask you to help them during this difficult time. They will spin a story about how they have lost everything due to the disaster and tug at your heart strings.
Yet, despite losing everything they seem to be an online dating site?
Business Investment Scam Business investment is another popular lure scammers use to attract their potential victims.
People want to use their savings for a worthwhile investment option. Solicitations for an investment scam can come via email, telephone or even in the mail. Offers include work-at-home jobs and other get-rich-quick schemes, gambling software, opportunities to buy "secret" shares and other too-good-to-be-true schemes.
How do you know it's a scam? While there is no foolproof rule, it is best to avoid investing in opportunities that have been presented to you by someone who came out of the blue. When investing your hard earned money, it is important to consult with a financial adviser about the best course of action. Scammers contact their victims on the pretext of offering them a job with unbelievably high salaries.
With most people always on the lookout for a better job, these emails seem like a welcome opportunity with people seldom realizing it's a scam. The odds of recovering that money, the bureau notes, are very low. Some of the money scammed by international criminal networks even winds up in the hands of terrorist operations like Boko Haram, according to Interpol.
This is crazy, I know! We also talked with members of a cottage industry that has sprung up to support the defrauded: And we spoke to FBI investigators, academics and researchers who study cyberfraud. Like Warnack, she still struggles emotionally to accept what happened. The two men in Nigeria pleaded guilty for their roles in scamming the Texas woman in July and were sentenced to three years in prison.
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Over the next two years, she sent more money in response to each new story he told her, she said, because, after all, they were in love. The Most Likely Victims According to FBI data, 82 percent of romance scam victims are women and women over 50 are defrauded out of the most money.
Using fake profiles on online dating sites and social networks, including Facebook, scammers troll for the lonely and the vulnerable. They promise love and marriage and build what feels like a very real relationship to the victim. Someone who has fallen for a scam before is a favored mark. Those names and identities are often sold to other criminals. A Federal Trade Commission study published in found another telling commonality among all kinds of fraud victims: And should they wise up, they may be threatened and blackmailed by their faux lovers.
The scammer may even admit the crime to the victim, but then swear he has actually fallen in love with her. Those who believe the excuses and stay involved may enter into a new level of danger as the scammer begins to groom them to launder stolen money, deliver drugs or scam others. More than one woman has wound up charged with crimes. Victims live around the globe.
Ruth Grover, who lives in northeast England, runs ScamHatersa website that posts warnings about online profiles that appear to be scammers. Many victims there and elsewhere are not wealthy and must borrow the money they send to the scammers. While Nigerian scams targeting an international audience in particular predate the internet, as The Guardian reported in January, the advent of social networks and email has broadened the potential victim list and changed the game.
These scammers are not just young people set on a career criminal path. The video shows luxury cars bearing license plates for each day of the week, beautiful women and expensive liquor on tap, and dollars carelessly tossed on the floor like confetti.
I went to Nigeria to meet the man who scammed me - BBC News
Many of the early online scams were run out of pay-per-hour internet cafes, some of which would even shut down to the public while the larger scamming operations took over. With better and cheaper internet connections these days, scammers can often work from home. They cast a Vodun spell, which is akin to voodoo, to essentially hypnotize their victims into giving up the money.
Scammers often work in teams of five or six, with each member playing a specific role, according to experts who study and prosecute online fraud. One person opens communication as the faux lover.
Teammates sometimes impersonate a doctor or a nurse demanding to be paid after a medical emergency. Or they pose as work associates or friends of the paramour, to whom the victim can send the money.
It is all scripted: The criminals can download their scripts off plenty of online sites. Last year, a year-old British woman was sentenced to two years in prison for being a scriptwriter for romance scammers. One script she wrote tried to capitalize on an American tragedy. The scammer was supposed to say: He made it out of the collapsed building but he later died because of heavy dust and smoke and he was asthmatic. When the victim seeks a face-to-face meeting, the script offers creative ways for scammers to say no or to cancel later.
Sometimes thousands of phony online identities are created from one set of stolen photos. Soldiers represent protection, another appealing trait. The Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of complaints a month from victims who say they formed an online relationship with someone claiming to be a U.
There are no circumstances in which a member of the U. When it comes to photo theft, rank offers no privileges. Campbell was the top U. Campbell, now retiredtook to Facebook to warn people after he and his staff uncovered more than fake profiles using his image in the first six months after he took over the U. Jones Without his knowledge, Dr.
Of course, men who are drawn into these scams come from many walks of life. In the case of Dr. A good part of his life is spent dodging these heartbroken women, some of whom who think he personally ripped them off.
One woman made an appointment for hypnosis with his New York office. She showed up with color printouts of his photos that she believed he had sent her.
The internet scammer who loved me (not) | Life and style | The Guardian
When Jones posted on his real Facebook page that HuffPost wanted to speak with women who had been bilked by scammers using his name, more than 50 responded in less than 24 hours. He also posted this public service announcement on YouTube about how to avoid being scammed. The Facebook photos of Las Vegas resident Michael Besson were also stolen and used to create hundreds of fake profiles on Facebook and other sites.
One woman from a small town in Illinois showed up at the door of his home, he said. He said his motive in speaking publicly was simple: Courtesy of Michael Besson This photo of Michael Besson with his daughter has appeared on hundreds of scammers' profiles. Scammers Play In Social Media Social media and dating sites, where people volunteer details about their personal lives, are a natural habitat for scammers.
Dating sites appear to be aware of the role they play, however unintentionally, in romance fraud. It is standard for such sites to disclaim any responsibility for fake profiles that appear. An industry executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told HuffPost that some sites fight back surreptitiously. They block users who they suspect are scammers without telling them.