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

Online dating works. There are millions of singles online in the UK, seeking what we all look for: love, companionship and a long-term future. I met my gorgeous husband through online dating, and during the ten years I worked for Match. Figures published by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau show a scary upward swing:. It was thought that women were the main targets for online-dating scammers. But men are increasingly duped.

Safe Online Dating

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While mobile apps like Tinder and Bumble might be a nice way to have contact online, it may leave people more vulnerable to scammers.

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. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.

Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.

They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street.

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Martins Friday Inalegwu, 31, and Steincy Mathieu, 24, a husband and wife from Maple Shade, face charges of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, according to the New Jersey U. Authorities arrested Inalegwu while Mathieu remained at large. The married couple and their conspirators, including some in Nigeria, carried out the con from October through last month, according to documents in the case. In all, federal investigators identified 33 victims who were scammed around the country.

Authorities alleged the scammers reached their victims through dating websites and social media, and pretended to strike up a romantic relationship with their targets.

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When love becomes a nightmare: Online dating scams

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.

Scammers are drawn to dating sites because they know that the people on there are looking to make a personal connection, and they can use.

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If you thought online dating websites are on the rise, than you would be right. However, not everyone who creates a profile on these sites has honorable intentions. Most dating scams start innocently enough.

Authorities alleged the scammers reached their victims through dating websites and social media, and pretended to strike up a romantic.

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Online Romance: How to Protect Yourself Against Online Dating Scams

Sh’reen Morrison had been on an online dating site for only a few weeks before she realized that something was seriously wrong with the man who had been actively pursuing her by text message and email. They’d hit it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman in remote Yuma, Ariz. But meeting in person was always a problem. First, he was traveling through India with his daughter.

Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.

Social media networks and dating websites have become increasingly popular tools for meeting and communicating. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized.

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:.

9 Online Dating Scams to Avoid

While many legitimate websites help to bring people together every day, stories of online dating scams are a regular occurrence. Facebook scams: will they take complaints about fake adverts seriously? The majority of fraudulent cases involve someone setting up a fake identity using stolen photos and pretending to start a relationship with their victim. Never share your financial details with someone you meet through an online dating website.

Personal information, such as your date of birth, address and passwords should also be kept secret.

Since the operators of the dating site do not want the name of the service to be disclosed, we will refer to it as DATINGSITE in this paper. We discuss the different​.

Since the large adoption of the internet, the online dating industry moved to set a new standard in the way we find our soulmates. And it worked. According to a study from the University of Chicago, compared to marriages between couples who meet in real life, marriages between couples whose relationships are formed through an online dating site are more likely to last. Unfortunately, with the rise of online dating services came the birth of romance scams. Romance scams target wealthy women, sometimes widows, who are looking for a new relationship and men who are looking for extra-marital relationships.

In most cases, the goal is to defraud the victim out of money. According to the FTC , victims between the ages of 40 and 69 were scammed at the highest rates, while victims aged 70 and above reported the biggest losses. After registering on a dating website, the victim meets a hacker impersonating a handsome man. Most of the time, this man will have the same nationality as the victim. At the time of contact, he is on a business trip abroad, in the military, or, in the case of high-profile romance scam out of Australia, sailing.

Written and audio messages will be exchanged between the scammer and their victim. Exchanges will intensify, often over a period of a few weeks or a few months—enough time for the victim to get emotionally attached. The scammer reappears by sending an email asking for help, pretending they are stuck abroad without any ID, phone, or money. This is when the emotional scam closes in on the victim, who then transfers money via Western Union to help their soulmate.

What’s the nature of your enquiry?

Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam.

Online dating sites offer a convenient match-making service. Unfortunately, fraudsters use these platforms to scam people at their most vulnerable.

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.

As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. Eventually a pitch for money comes. Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences. This makes it hard for the victim to do due diligence. The scammer might say that an immediate family member has a medical emergency and needs money for treatment, or that he has been wrongly arrested and needs help with bail money and legal support.

How to Spot Online Dating Scams


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