Dating nigerian scams
“That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.” Eventually a pitch for money comes.Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.This makes it hard for the victim to do due diligence.The scammer might say that an immediate family member has a medical emergency and needs money for treatment, or that he has been wrongly arrested and needs help with bail money and legal support.If the images come up associated with a person who has another name or lives in a different city, you have good reason to suspect they were stolen from someone else’s profile.
To recognize and avoid romance scams, follow these tips. Copy the images your online correspondent has posted to his or her profile, then run them through a reverse-image search engine, such as Tin Eye or Google Images.
“We can’t arrest our way out of this situation,” says Steve D’Antuono, a 23-year FBI veteran who is chief of its Financial Crime Section in Washington.
“We’ve had chatrooms since the dawn of AOL, back when I was a kid,” D’Antuono says, “and criminals will use whatever technology and tools that they possibly can to take [victims’] money.” Speaking not about the Chicago case, but generally about romance fraud, D’Antuono says victims include men and women, straights and gays, and people of all ages, races and walks of life.
Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.
While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams,” it still represents just the tip of the iceberg.