Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information. We receive inquiries every day from people who have been defrauded for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars by Internet contacts they thought were their friends or loved ones. Internet scams are attempts by con artists to convince you to send them money.
The FBI’s Nigerian email scam ring bust shows how the billion-dollar global fraud has evolved
The scammers victimized individuals and small and large businesses. The company thought it was making a payment for an oil extraction equipment order. For example, in a Japanese woman, identified in court documents as F. Army captain stationed in Syria. The Justice Department unsealed the indictment after the arrest of 14 people, including Iro and Igbokwe, early Thursday.
Three others were already in custody.
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Earlier this year, 10 people located around the United States were arrested and charged in an organized money laundering scheme as they were attempting to wash the cash that they illegally obtained. What was strange about the scheme is how the money was obtained in the first place. It wasn’t through the trading or trafficking of illegal goods or drugs, but rather cash that was sent by unsuspecting women who thought they were building relationships with the scammers.
This type of thing happens more often than you might think. These types of schemes are known as romance scams, and while there is no shortage of scams online, few are more devastating. That makes it all the more painful when the rug is pulled out from under them and the scammers make off with their income or savings. Many of these schemes to swindle vulnerable people looking for love originate in Nigeria, where there is a bustling underground economy of scammers who set up profiles on online dating sites and sweet talk unsuspecting victims out of their savings.
Social Catfish , an online dating investigation service, shared an actual playbook provided by a member of a Nigerian dating scam ring and provided insight into how these scammers operate and what to watch out for.
Romance Scams: The Email Threat That Breaks Hearts and Banks
In the past, con artists from Nigeria often pretended to be princes in trouble to get your personal information. Now they use more refined scams to rake in millions. They recently released a report on West African cybercrime, which includes Nigeria. That woman drove miles to a rural town to meet a man she had never met, but believed she was in love with. Others sent letters.
Army CID is warning anyone who is involved in online dating to Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission on Nigerian Scams.
Fox News Flash top headlines for August 8 are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews. Dating and romance fraud is more rampant than ever. It all starts when a bad actor dupes a victim into a trusting relationship, then exploits that to get money, goods, or sensitive financial information. The bad guys often use online dating sites to pose as U. The stats back up the growing threat. Dating and romance scams proliferate online. Fox News.
A Nigerian citizen, who ran his scam from South Africa, posted fake profiles on dating sites using photos of actual people. He claimed, in some cases, to be an officer in the U. When she refused to send more money, he threatened to post the video online, the BBB said. He also used victims as mules. He would order laptops and iPads with stolen credit cards and then got the victims to send the merchandise to him in South Africa.
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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.
The internet is the most widely used communication network ever constructed. There are good and bad things happening on the internet, and among the bad things are ongoing attempts to scam innocent people out of their money or identities. The internet brings with it many such opportunities, and fraudsters appear to be waiting around every virtual corner with the latest in online scams.
While some forms of internet fraud have gotten very sophisticated, even some of the older, less advanced plays still actually work. If people know more about the types of scams taking place and what to look out for, we can hopefully save at least some people from getting swindled out their hard-earned cash. Related: Cybercrime stats and facts. Email scams are a type of online fraud. The broad strokes tend to remain the same, but the details of these types of online fraud change over time.
There are resources to keep on top of the ever changing scams, and steps to take to defend against them. You would think that scam artists would have refined their approach by now, but many scam emails are poorly written and fairly easy to spot. Nonetheless, some are more sophisticated and people still lose a lot of money to email scams every year.
See also: How to encrypt email. Whatever the subject, the email is requesting that you send a fee in advance before you can receive whatever is promised. The Nigerian scam is a variation of the advanced-fee scam but deserves its own spot since it has been so prevalent.
Please contact customerservices lexology. A romance scam occurs when two people contact each other on a dating app or elsewhere on the internet. Communications unfold between the two people with the purported goal of finding love. However, while one of the two people is intent on finding a dream match, the other person seeks to earn trust to fleece money over time from the innocent dating victim.
A real example of a romance scam recently was reported by CNN. A man representing that he was an Army captain based in Syria contacted a Japanese woman on a digital pen pals international web site.
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While 14 arrests have been made, a count federal grand jury indictment unsealed on Thursday Aug. The unsealed indictment shows the evolving tactics of online fraudsters which has seen them continue to dupe unwitting victims despite numerous awareness campaigns about the online scams. Through business email compromise scams BEC , fraudsters use hacked email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either bogus or similar to actual payments owed to legitimate companies.
As part of the scam, fraudsters learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for the payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies and then target businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments, Paul Delacourt, FBI assistant director in charge of the case said in a press briefing. Before his arrest, Okeke had posed a successful entrepreneur and was featured on a Forbes under list as well a BBC Focus on Africa program.
With long-running romance scam tactics through dating websites already well-known, fraudsters have gone as far as impersonating US soldiers and then seeking lovers on social media, particularly Facebook. In some cases, rather than being asked to send money, victims of romance scams are deployed as money mules whose banks accounts are used to move illicit funds or are talked into opening accounts on behalf of criminals. US law enforcement have recently received complaints of such scams in all 50 states in the US, authorities also say.
The high profile arrests have also triggered extreme reactions among Nigerians at home and abroad, many of whom daily experience the cost of national stereotyping that comes with the well-covered activity of online fraudsters, particularly with the wide spread of email scam attempts. These costs range from increased scrutiny for visa processes , a lack of trust when attempting to do business internationally and being restricted from using international payment platforms.
US officials say the busted ring was led by US-based operatives who facilitated the scams by opening US bank accounts where victims were directed to deposit money. Operatives then laundered the stolen funds through these accounts, ultimately funneling them to Nigeria and pocketing the proceeds.
5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer
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Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media sites to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the.
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When Romance Is a Scam
Nigerian Scammers Pull in Millions With Fake Emails, Romance Scams more than 80 suspects involved in the online fraud, which collected at least On the romance scam front, the suspects created fake profiles on dating.
An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company’s distinctive lens. Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways. New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine–even an entirely new economic system. Federal prosecutors in California charged 80 people in what they say is a massive conspiracy tied to Nigeria to defraud people and businesses out of millions of dollars in an indictment unsealed Thursday.
Officials said they arrested 14 people Thursday in connection with the charges, relating to a variety of types of online fraud. Some of the allegations involved business email compromise scams, where scammers took over or impersonated email accounts belonging to various companies in order to send bogus requests for money.
Some victims, including some elderly people, lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to the scams, prosecutors say. This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators — no matter where they reside — and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.