Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas.
They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.
'Are You Real?' — Inside an Online Dating Scam
They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street.
The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses. Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity.
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 think you have been scammed, report it to the website, app, or social media site where the scammer first approached you. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page.
This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible.
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Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot. We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help. Phishing Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers.
Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else's identity to steal money or gain other benefits. Just a different scam. I was sent to toogoodtobetrue. Boy did I get an education! The way this particular scam works is to send the forged or counterfeit financial instruments, which are immediately available funds, you think it's "immediately cleared", and wire the funds. In a couple of weeks, it comes back as a "counterfeit" or "forged" instrument, and you are responsible to cough up the money!
Romance Scammer Stories: One Online Dating Scam
I didn't hear from him for a few days. Then, he sent an IM saying that he was having some packages shipped to me of medical equipment, and they belonged to his Mom's doctor, and could I send them over to Africa. He'd "pay" the shipping. I got a moderator from RomanceScams to "hold my hand" through this, and she encouraged me to "play along" for my own closure if I was strong enough and had IRL support. I told him that I'd figured out the scam. First he told me I was "not well" "had trouble with my head" and "should see a doctor" No, I'm feeling fine. I told him I knew the "documents" were fakes.
Then came a surprise! He admitted it, told me how "bad" things were in Africa maybe he WAS poor, but with the amount he's stealing as a scammer, he's living like a KING now, at poor people's expense. Anyhow, somehow I said the "right things" to him where he felt sorry for me, and offered me to become a scammer! The woman from RomanceScams said she'd never HEARD of such a thing, so play along, and see what details he'd give me - about himself, about where he was, about how all of this worked, the justification He told me that the "poor" and "ghettos" were the "best" for pulling off these scams, and had it figured that somehow the banks and "rich people" were paying for all of it.
In reality, poor people, and those on fixed incomes are having what little they have taken from them. I have since learned that this attempt to recruit an intended mark as another scammer is the latest trend or twist in this scam. The other thing he was trying was a "reshipping scam".
pittpheraso.cf That is, where things probably purchased with stolen credit cards, are then shipped to the US address on some excuse as to why they can't be sent directly to Africa. The person in the US repackages them and ships them to Africa. He or she needs a good lawyer now on top of having to pay for all of this!
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Two days later, extremely early in the morning, the scammer IMed me again, telling me that some packages were being shipped to my address. He had a few different stories of what they were, but for me to "please take care of them" and they'd be picked up by FedEX tomorrow. I did not even acknowlege the IM. The agent was quite understanding, listened to the whole story, told me that I'd done the right thing by refusing the package, to refuse any more that arrive.
He suggested that I contact IC3. I also reported it to my local police. He has my physical address, he's probably got other "friends" and "associates" accomplices in the US, and it's remotely possible that something could happen. The officer was quite understanding, knew that these things happen, agreed with everything the FBI agent had already told me.
However, it doesn't hurt to put the local police on the alert to the problem, or if someone "tips" them off probably the ignored scammer that I'm "receiving stolen merchandise", it may save me some hassels. They told me they'd keep an eye out. The following day, the scammer IMed me yet again, called me various names for refusing the previous day's package, said another one was arriving, and I could refuse too. Later that morning, a semitruck from Watkins pulled up. I went out to meet the driver, and refused it. He had a hard time with that idea.
There was a large-screen television and a computer there, and LOTS of other electronic items.
Dating & romance statistics
I explained it was part of a "reshipping scam", and in detail how it worked. His paperwork showed the items were shipped to his name, at my address, with a bogus phone number in the area code. I don't believe it to be a local number even! There was a message in the paperwork that "customer is deaf". Both the police officer and FBI agent told me to put the scammer on ignore, or, he could create more IDs, and continue to try to scam and bother me.
I may have to close that Yahoo account, open another, and give the new address to my "real" friends. That's been a "front line" for public "give your e-mail address" for almost 10 years, so every spammer in the universe has it. I cannot use the e-mail account for anything. The FBI agent and local police officer told me to return the packages and destroy any checks that arrive in this. The Nigerian scammer, regardless of his or her nationality, ethnicity, or physical location, has no remorse, no guilt, about any of this.
Not the using, not the theft, not causing an innocent person to go to jail The person you may feel you "fell in love" with simply does not exist. Note too, that although this has the name "Nigerian Scam", people perpetrating it are not necessarily in Nigeria. They may be in Ghana. Or, they may be in western Europe, or the US or Canada. It appears to have originated in Nigeria. Other romance scams originated in Romania or Russia.
They follow a different pattern though. In all fairness to the majority of people in or from Nigeria, the plurality of people in that country are decent, law-abiding citizens. In no way is this construed to be a general dislike for any group of people anywhere. Please distribute this information widely. This scam continues because a People don't suspect, and assume that cashier's checks and money orders are "as good as cash". It is the financial and emotional equivalent of rape.
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Like rape, it flourishes in the darkness of shame. If you need some support or assistance in reporting it, or are treated like a possible criminal yourself by law enforcement or called "stupid" for it, of have fear such, the people at the RomanceScams are great to support you, as well as providing links and support if you already have been scammed, are currently involved with becoming or are a current victim, as well as assisting you in reporting the situation to banks, merchants, and law enforcement agencies.
All of the people in law enforcement I have contacted over this matter were very professional in how they handled it.