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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nigerian Scams, ,   

    Victim held hostage in romance scam 

    Victim held hostage in romance scam

    When we’ve discussed romance scams in the past, we always mention the potential financial and emotional toll it can take on its victims. What we haven’t mentioned is the physical toll when it comes to the safety of romance scam victims.

    If you’re unfamiliar with what a romance scam is, it’s when a scammer poses online as someone their not and luring victims in with the prospect of a romantic relationship. When the scammer has fully fooled their victim into believing they’re in an authentic relationship, the scammer will start asking their victim for money. Previous romance scams have seen victims lose anywhere from thousands of dollars to literally over a million dollars.

    Red flags that could indicate a romance scam is if the person keeps giving excuses as to why they can’t meet you in person. Another red flag can be if the person claims to be working or stationed overseas. Romance scammers often pose as American military members and steal the photos of active military personnel.

    Recently, an American woman who was caught up in a romance scam was rescued from her captors who had allegedly perpetrated a romance scam on her. The woman was lured to Nigeria with the promise of marriage. She actually married the man who was scamming her. After the marriage, the scammer was said to have taken control of all her financial accounts including her retirement account. The victim was held captive by her scammer for 16 months in a hotel room. This type of captivity is not unheard of as authorities rescued a woman from the Philippines who had been held in Nigeria for six months.

    Again, we can’t stress this enough that anybody from any cultural, financial, or educational background can be a victim of a romance scam. We’ve seen people from widows/widowers to corporate CEOs who have been taken in romance scams. Now, with the added danger of being held captive being thrown into the mix, you should be more cautious than ever when it comes to making relationships online.

    If you think you or someone you know may be the victim of a romance scam, the Federal Trade Commission has a great website on how to recognize a romance scam. Don’t let your heart trick you into making dangerous decisions.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Nigerian Scams, , ,   

    Six million dollar romance scam ring busted! 

    Romance scam ring busted!

    When we discuss scams like wire fraud or romance scams, the perpetrators largely operate with impunity since they’re overseas. This makes it difficult for US investigators to apprehend the suspects. Even if the US has an extradition treaty with the scammers’ home country that doesn’t necessarily mean that the scammers will be extradited to the US no matter how much money they’re accused of taking. However, that doesn’t mean that federal investigators are totally powerless in bringing some of these crooks to justice.

    Yesterday, The FBI unsealed an indictment from October of 2018, against 80 alleged international scammers. Between corporate fraud and romance scams, the ring is suspected of raking in at least $6 million from their victims. On the corporate side of things, the scammers would allegedly send fake but realistic-looking emails to the financial departments of companies requesting that funds be sent to certain bank accounts. With the romance scams, they reportedly posted fake accounts on dating sites and apps while conning their unsuspecting victims out of money disguised as gifts. The FBI says that this particular scamming ring tried to steal $40 million from potential victims. As we have discussed previously, sometimes the victims of these scams themselves can end up in legal trouble because of it.

    In this instance, federal investigators have arrested 14 alleged scammers who were living in the US who are accused of sending the money they stole back to their home country of Nigeria. The West African country is notorious as a haven for scammers because it’s more lucrative to become a scammer rather than holding a legitimate job. This is also where the ‘419’ scam originated named for the Nigerian legal code that makes these scams illegal. Unfortunately, while some of the scammers in this particular ring have been apprehended, there are many more who at large overseas.

    To better protect yourself against these scams if you work in a company where you receive these types of financial requests, always double-check with the person making the request through a phone call or face to face meeting. As far as romance scams go, no matter how good looking they may appear, if they start asking for money the odds are likely that you’re being scammed. And we’re not talking about a couple bucks here and there either. Some victims of romance scams have lost anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has tips on how to avoid romance scams. If you know someone who may be a victim of a romance scam please have them read this post or the FTC website.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 419 Scam, Nigerian Scams, Operation Wire Wire,   

    FBI busts major cyber-scam ring 

    FBI busts major cyber-scam ring

    Most of us are aware of the Nigerian Prince email scams also known as the 419 Scam. It’s been a well-known scam since the dawn of the internet. It usually takes the form of someone claiming in an e-mail that they need your help in getting a large sum of money out of their country promising you a large share of that money. However, they need your help in the form of paying for various hurdles required to get the money released. As you can probably ascertain, no large fortune exists and the victim is out in upwards of thousands of dollars typically. While the 419 scam has become the stuff of comedy these days that doesn’t mean the scammers have gone away. Instead, they have moved on to new scams and new targets.

    Recently, the FBI announced the results of an initiative called Operation Wire Wire where a major organized crime ring that specialized in e-mail scams had been arrested. In total 74 people had been arrested including 42 in the U.S., 29 in Nigeria, and 3 in various other countries. Instead of targeting gullible victims looking for a quick payday this new generation of scammers target businesses and executives by posing as intermediaries in high-dollar business deals. This recent operation by investigators was able to reclaim $14 million in wire transfers, the scammers preferred method of payment.

    However, some of the old scams still proliferate inside our inboxes. These can include romance scams where someone from overseas poses as a romantic interest who needs money to escape a fictitious situation where they need to escape their country. Also, beware of unsolicited lottery scams where someone tells you that you’ve won some lottery or sweepstakes that you weren’t even aware you had entered. While this bust by the FBI may have stopped a major ring there are still many others out there.

     
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