It could help stop a fraudster in his cruel and dastardly tracks.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.
They ask for money, like "Adam Smith" did with Lilo Schuster. "You feel like you're contributing to your relationship, that you're helping his daughter be able to go on a trip that he couldn't provide for her, but, you know, he'll pay me back is what he had said," she recalled. If someone you are dating — online or otherwise — asks you for money, do not give it.
"I would say, 99-plus percent of the time, the answer would be, 'I'm sorry, I can't send you any money.' I can't really envision a scenario when that's anything other than a scam," Hood said.
Illinois chiropractor Lilo Schuster fell for it, and fell hard.
But it is a necessary one in order to make certain that your new love is for real. At the same time, however, the FBI says to beware of an online suitor who quickly seeks to lure you "offline" or away from the dating site. Language matters Pay attention to your love interest's use of the language, both in their online profile and in chats and emails. "One sign is if there is weird spelling or punctuation," Hood said.
But in fact, that person is a con artist who learned about your love for cats, or Jane Austen, or the U. The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center said in an alert earlier this year that users of social media and online dating sites should always assume that con artists are watching, and trolling for victims.
Suddenly, you and your new online beau have an "uncanny" connection. Be careful about how much you reveal about yourself online.In 2016, the last year for which data is available, consumers lost more than 0 million this way.(The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can’t get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs Romance Scams, a watchdog site and online support group.According to a recent Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says David Farquhar, Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.“That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.” Eventually a pitch for money comes.If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, report your concerns to the dating site.Reputable sites will shut down accounts that are engaging in questionable activity. "They spend hours honing their skills and sometimes keep journals on their victims to better understand how to manipulate and exploit them." Meet in person Take a close look at your new friend's online profile picture. If so, it could be a stock photo, or a picture that a scam artist took from someplace else. "The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do," the agency says. "He has a child and he's in Afghanistan and he's fighting the terrorists and he's a pilot, and I thought my prayers had been answered," Schuster said. Eventually, Smith asked Schuster to wire him some money to help support his daughter. She had sent him nearly ,000 before she finally realized the whole thing was a scam. She began a relationship online with a military officer serving in Afghanistan named Adam Smith.