Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. Never agree to transfer money for someone else. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences.
Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you. If you met on an dating site they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email. Their messages are often poorly written, vague and may even address you by the wrong name.
Protect yourself Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material. If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going.
Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. Consider carefully the advice on www. Be wary of requests for money. Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way. McGregor was also a tremendous listener who never hesitated to lend Elrod a sympathetic ear.
The boy wrote her bubbly emails about his closest school chum and his plans for Senior Day. Kevin scheduled a trip to Charlotte for his summer break, and Elrod sent him several hundred dollars to buy the plane ticket. I could tell there was something wrong. The medical bills were piling up and he was in no position to pay them—he said his bank account had been frozen because he was on an oil rig. By September , Elrod was sending off three-quarters of her weekly take-home pay.
She and her eight cats ate the cheapest food so the McGregors could have as much cash as possible. But McGregor belittled her for not doing enough: He urged her to pawn her car title too. McGregor explained that Sinclair needed help completing a few transactions for clients who wanted to either conceal their assets or convert their local currencies to dollars. If Elrod could pick up some wire transfers in Charlotte and forward them to Warri, Sinclair would make sure that Kevin had ample funds to visit the US.
Elrod was skeptical upon hearing mention of Nigeria, a place she vaguely knew as a font of email scams involving bogus princes. Campbell, who commands American forces in Afghanistan, posted an unusual statement on his Facebook page, which normally features bland accounts of his official business. These Internet con artists, known as Yahoo Boys in Nigeria, often masquerade as American military officers who are deployed in war zones, a ruse that gives them plenty of unassailable excuses should a victim wish to meet face-to-face.
Despite a slew of highly publicized warnings like the one made by Campbell, the romance-scam industry is flourishing as people become more accustomed to finding soul mates online. In the UK, a study by researchers at the University of Leicester and the University of Westminster estimated that , Britons had already been duped by Internet swindlers whose promises of love inevitably segue into demands for cash.
Psychologist Monica Whitty, a coauthor of the British study who specializes in romance-scam research, has found that although the people who get fooled by the Yahoo Boys are not necessarily lonelier or more trusting than their peers, they do tend to score highly on tests that measure how much they idealize romantic love. They are thus prone to fall fast and hard for anyone who showers them with exaggerated affection, even if that affection is expressed only via emails and instant messages.
Once a romance scammer has identified a vulnerable target, the trajectory of the ensuing crime is easy to predict. Each con begins with a grooming phase, during which a scammer tries to create an intimate bond with his mark: He will deluge the potential victim with plagiarized love poems and mawkish texts and gently encourage her to reveal dark memories from her past. There have been suicides because of this. The criminals responsible for causing that devastation are seldom apprehended, since so many are based in West African countries where the authorities are often understaffed or corrupt.
On a few recent occasions, scammers have been nabbed while venturing abroad.
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