The past month I worked several online dating scams, and I was able to locate the identity of a few scammers, as well as trace their whereabouts. All but two come from African countries, two from the UK, and two from the US.
The victims have a combined loss of over €275,000.00. Some of them sent money via Western Union, others to bank accounts in different parts of the world. 275k is no doubt a tremendous amount of cash, for some it was their life savings. Recovering the swindled funds for this particular group will be extremely difficult if not impossible.
The common factors are always the same, neither of my clients ever had a face-to-face video with their so-called mate. Plus, the swindlers prefer to socialize in Google Hangouts. Some of the reasons for requesting money was for a sick relative, a temporary business loan, and a fee to the Embassy to pay for their visa.
If you are involved in a long distance relationship with someone you met online, and if you have not had a face-to-face video you are probably being duped. Perhaps you are thinking; they have not asked you for money. Unfortunately, that only makes you the potential victim of a long con.
1. Demand a face-to-face video
2. Ask for a copy of their passport or drivers license
3. Ask for their home address
4. Ask for their phone number
If the person tells you no, that is a red flag, and you should reconsider your involvement.
One of the issues I ran into this month is a client told her other half the information I located about him. He emailed me and explained I have it all wrong he is not a scammer. He does not know I pretexted the person who was going to receive the 10,000 CHF wire transfer. She admitted that he was paying her a percentage to say she was a sick relative and be the middleman for the funds.
If you have met someone on Match.com, POF, Jdate, think before you chat, and never send money.
Frank M. Ahearn