At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:
Describe what a love scam is.
Identify a type of person or profile that a love scammer may pose as.
Identify what types of people are scammed.
Love or Romance Scams
Criminal networks and individuals are working overtime to part love struck victims from their money. While many individuals are spending the time leading up to February looking for someone to keep them company during Valentines day, love scammers are looking for desperate victims who are willing to feed their bank account.
A scammer could potentially use any method available to them to bilk a victim out of their money. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common types of love scams and their methodology. Understanding what scammers do to accomplish their mission can help you identify otherwise unknown scams and better defend yourself. The stakes can be high.
Scammers often look for vulnerable or otherwise weak individuals who they attempt to convince to indulge in their fantasies while recording or otherwise monitoring them. This is often an invitation by the scammer to get the victim to perform sexual acts on camera.
Once a scammer has recorded their victim they will often find their social media contacts and threaten to send the video to their employers, friends, and family. The victim usually has to pay a sizable sum to protect their dignity but the scammer will often still reveal the content or sell it on sexually explicit sites even after having been paid.
The pro-dater preys on wealthy foreigners who are willing to visit their country. They will meet their victim and then orchestrate the victim spending large amounts of money. This usually requires the help of people who are on the take.
The foreigner will often be taken by an expensive taxi, shuttled to stores, convinced to spend money, and then they are either sent away or otherwise left somewhere with encouragement to send more money when ever they can. Sometimes they are murdered.
A 419 scam is similar to most Nigerian wealth scams. The victim is told that vast wealth is available if they are willing to marry someone. The scammer then convinces the victim to send money and pay massive fees and bills, stringing them on, with the promise of marrying and bringing along massive amounts of wealth.
Claims that victims have been beat, robbed, and even murdered after traveling to Africa to meet their scammers have been made.
Many scammers impersonate military members, preying on their victims by convincing them that their military service prevents them from visiting. The relationship will usually progress until the scammer finds an excuse to request cash. This has lead to victims loosing tens of thousands of dollars as they believe they are assisting a member of the armed forces whom they ‘love’.
Slow down. Stop. Time is on your side. Your online love you have never met who is demanding cash right now is pressuring you in the hopes of making you make mistakes. The scammer will often profess their love and then demand cash to help themselves, family members, or for some other issue. Don’t rush. A manufactured emergency is a fast way to get you to take action before you think.
Don’t wire money or use gift cards. Untraceable money transfer funds will vanish and you will not recover your losses.
Any photo provided to you should be entered into google image search as a reverse search method.
The FBI provides excellent resources on love scams.
The CID provides excellent resources on love scams.
A love scam is a scam that relies on convincing a person to part with their money because of some form of emotional or sexual attachment.
Scammers often pose as members of the military because it provides them an excuse for being out of the continental United States.
Gullible or otherwise desperate people are preyed upon because of their strong desire for fulfillment and a willingness to over look issues to satisfy their own fantasies.
The British Psychological Society claims that people who are sensitive or emotionally stunted are more likely to fall for online dating scams. Older people, less attractive people, and persons who receive less attention are more likely to be willing to suspend belief when highly attractive persons provide them attention.
Be cautious with your social media. People look for people who are older and present a willing to trust. They specifically look for trust indicators like strong religious predisposition or posts with positive affirmations. Do not make yourself an easy mark.
The internet has made scamming a simple career and taken the necessity to be charismatic out of the equation. Do not allow yourself to be duped or to over look red flags because you want to prop up your ego. Men and women can both be victims of the love or romance scam and the only way to protect yourself is to use caution and skepticism.