Romance Scams – How to Identify
FBI AND CALIFORNIA COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL INSTITUTE AWARENESS ON IDENTIFYING IT!!
Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.
The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. Con artists are present on most dating and social media sites.
The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.
Scam artists often say they are in the building and construction industry and are engaged in projects outside the U.S. That makes it easier to avoid meeting in person—and more plausible when they ask for money for a medical emergency or unexpected legal fee.
If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.
If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately. If you are the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Tips for Avoiding Romance Scams:
- Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
- Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
- Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
- Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
- Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
- Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
- Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
The above is from the FBI. Now here is CCBI’S list to add:
- THE SCAMMERS ARE ON DATING SIGHTS ON LINE
- THEY SAY THEY ARE AMERICANS BUT ARE OVERSEES AS MILITARY, HUMANITARIAN MISSION, WORKING ON AN OIL RIG, JOB, ETC. SO CAN’T MEET YOU FACE TO FACE. WILL SEND PICTURES OF THEMSELVES TO BACK UP THEIR STORY AND/OR HAVE “SOUNDS” PROVING THEY ARE WHERE THEY ARE
- WILL PROFESS TO BE WEALTHY
- WILL PROFESS LOVE QUICKLY – LOVE BOMBS – WANT TO TALK TO YOU DIRECTLY VIA PERSONAL EMAIL
- ASK FOR MONEY DUE TO SOME FINANCIAL CRISIS WHICH SOUNDS LIGITIMATE
- WANT NUDE PHOTOS (TO BLACK MAIL YOU WITH IF YOU DO NOT SEND THEM MONEY)
- WILL ASK YOU TO OPEN UP A BANK ACOUNT (NEED TO LAUNDER MONEY AND THIS IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE FOR WHICH YOU CAN BE HELD LIABLE.
How do they do it and what are some of their techniques?
They use these techniques and more:
- Methodical and persistent
- Exploits (Ruse)
- Groom and desensitizes/hunts people
- Plot and Plan
- Treat the hunt like a craft
- Excitement is in the “hunt/grooming/setup” not the event itself (especially or sexual predators)
- Get people to excuse their behaviors for many reasons
- Exploit under the guise of “love”
- Use exploitation of vulnerabilities and information
- Use flatter and positive attention
- Violate emotions and trust
- Create fantasy through plausible scenario’s practiced with many individuals
- Create plausible deniability
- Idealize, devalue and discard people
Be aware of predators everywhere and especially targeting seniors, dating singles on dating apps, investment apps, and even in church’s. Predators don’t have a single place of perpetration but instead, perpetrate everywhere and everyone. Trust your “gut” instinct first. The more informed we are the more we can protect ourselves.