Category: Dating and Romance
1. Online Dating
There are countless people looking for love, romance and commitment and scammers think these people are easy marks. Numerous scammers spend their days pretending to be in love with various people and building a relationship to the point where they ask for money and sometimes get it. When the prospective partner stops paying then the scammer moves on to new victims.
This is cynical, nasty and immoral.
An Austrian woman (we’ll call her firefly) decided to give online dating a try. It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced. Firefly spent a lot of time on her profile, thinking she needed to be entirely honest and open if she hoped to really connect with someone. Within 10 minutes of posting, she had a handful of virtual suitors — and one stood out. He suggested they ditch the dating site and switch to email.
Her new boyfriend had a complicated backstory: He was an American soldier serving in Iraq, and he had a son living in Ghana. But she had revealed to her new online beau how much she wanted children, and soon his 14-year-old son was emailing her. (I know; red flag.)
Then, after about a week of heavy correspondence, Firefly’s boyfriend announced his son’s birthday was coming up, and suggested she send him a gift. So she wired a few hundred euros to Ghana. It was pretty gratifying, she says; the son was ecstatic.
But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently. “Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says.
Scarcely had the boy recovered when he was struck by cholera, which required another expensive course of treatment. Within the space of about three months, Firefly wired the equivalent of about $1,000 to Ghana. She decided to do a little research online and discovered that, yes, cholera is a problem in Ghana, and yes, treating it can be expensive — except that Ghana actually has a free cholera treatment program.
She finally realised she’d been scammed.
2. The Fake Military Personnel Scam
This follows the usual path of fake dating online leading to the fake military man asking for money to get leave or to visit the person.
3. Fake Investigators:
Once someone has been scammed, they are labelled as easy prey and some scammers will approach them with a new story and offer help. There are fake investigators offering to find the original scammer and get the money back and have the perpetrators brought to justice. However, this is impossible to do and will just lead to more money being paid to another scammer.
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