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Crimewatch - Romance Scams - 'Romance fraud mastermind jailed'
Stolen images[ edit ] This falsified passport was used in an actual internet romance scam. The deception can be obvious to observers — for example, the photo on this passport does not comply with regulations for size or pose — but these signs are often ignored by willing victims. This is often known as catfishing. These requests may be for gas money, bus and airplane tickets to visit the victim, medical expenses, education expenses etc. There is usually the promise that the scammer will one day join the victim in the victim's home. The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money. Victims can be highly traumatized and very embarrassed when they learn that their romance was a scam. In some cases, online dating services are themselves engaged in misrepresentation , displaying profiles that have been fabricated using personal information from users who have not agreed to be depicted on the site  or by presenting outdated or out-of-region profiles as current and local. Internet[ edit ] Scammers post profiles on dating websites ,  social media accounts, classified sites and even online forums to search for new victims. Upon finding a target, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, such as providing an e-mail address or phone number, to continue the deception. This creates a false sense of attachment on the victim's part that so that the victim feels guilty refusing the scammer's requests for money. The scammer says their boss has paid them in postal money orders. The scammer asks the victim to cash the forged money orders, and then wire money to the scammer. These are particularly common at African dating sites  [ dead link ] The scammer actually is employed directly or indirectly by a website, with a share of the victim's member or usage fees passed on to the scammer  Blackmail[ edit ] Some romance scammers seek out a victim with an obscure fetish and they will make the victim think that if they pay for the scammer's plane ticket, they will get to live out a sexual fantasy of theirs with the scammer. Other scammers also 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 , Twitter etc. The scheme usually involves accomplices, such as an interpreter and a taxi driver, all of whom must be paid by the victim at an inflated price. After the victim has left, the merchandise is returned to the vendors and the pro-dater and their various accomplices take in 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. A young woman will contact a victim and tell them of their plight: 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 that they are sincere until they are able to build up enough 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 that they are a real person so that 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 illness of themselves or a family member. Scammers are very adept at knowing how to "play" their victims - sending love poems, sex games in emails, building up a "loving relationship" with many promises of "one day we will be married". Often photos of unknown African actresses will be used to lure the victim into believing they are talking to that person. 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. Scammers prefer to use the images, names and profiles of soldiers as this usually inspires confidence, trust and admiration in their female victims. These scammers tell their victims that they are lonely, or supporting an orphanage with their own money, or needing financial assistance because they can't access their own money in a combat zone, etc. 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 anyone showing identification if the sender sends money using a secret pass phrase and response, and can be picked up anywhere in the world. Some scammers may also use Bitcoin as an alternative payment method. Per their results, sensitive and less emotionally intelligent people are more likely to be vulnerable to online dating scams. This was the finding of a study by Dr. The scammer first grooms a victim by expressing love for them before outlining their desperate circumstances. They then attempt to request money from the victim. Our study focused on why some individuals are more likely to become the victims of these scams than others. The site provides info about current scams, warning signs and staying safe. The pair met their unsuspecting victims through lonely hearts ads.
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