The FBI warns of dating, romance and Internet scams

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Dating, romance, and cheating is more rampant now than ever before.

Dating and romance scams involve financial, fraud, and the recruitment of the so-called “money mules,” the FBI said in a public announcement this week.

It all starts when a bad actor dupes of a victim, who is in a relationship of trust, then exploit that to get money, property, or other sensitive financial information.

The bad guys often use online dating websites to pose as U.S. citizens in a foreign country, or U.S. military personnel deployed to a foreign country, or American entrepreneurs who are investing heavily, the FBI said.

The statistics are backed up by the growing menace. While, in 2017, more than 15,000 people have filed a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), they say that they are the victims of a confidence/romance fraud reported losing $211 million, and by 2018, the number of victims has increased to more than 18,000, including more than $362 million in losses, or an increase of more than 70 per cent compared to the previous year, according to the FBI.


Dating and romance scams can multiply online.
(Fox News)

How a con artist stole over $1.7 million to victims

In 2018, the Better Business Bureau’s profile in a case where a crook stole $1 million in laptop computers and other stolen electronic equipment, and a total of no less than $730,000.

As a Nigerian citizen, who was running his scam in South Africa, posted fake profiles on dating sites using pictures of real people. He claimed to be, and in some cases, to be an officer in the U.S. army, a widow with one child”, and that ” a practicing Christian with a strong Faith,” the BBB said.

The man spent weeks or months developing relationships with their victims, and often send gifts such as flowers or a box of chocolates, and then asked for a small amount of money to cover small emergency situations in order to test its effect on them,” the BBB said.

As a victim, but ended up filing for bankruptcy after she had left the $98,000 in debt.

He also made use of the development, having a target to run “in a sexually explicit manner,” Skype”, which he secretly recorded. When she refused to send more money, he threatened to go to the video on the web, the BBB said.

He also used the victims as well as land. He would have to have personal laptops and iPads with a stolen credit card and then got the victims to send the goods to him in South Africa.



To protect yourself

The majority of cyber criminals do not take advantage of their private photos, the FBI said. “With a reverse image search to determine whether or not a picture is used elsewhere on the internet, and the websites that they are being used. In some cases a search you can find the information that is on the left of the image, in other scams or casualties,” the FBI said.

And don’t forget that the majority of dating sites do not perform criminal background checks, so it’s easy for people to misrepresent themselves.

Other red flags include a direct request for you to talk or send instant messages e-mail and / or messaging service outside of the dating site, and make false claims that a meeting with the person in it was “destiny” or “fate,” the FBI said.

A report of the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and your local FBI field office, or both. Contact the IC3 at

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