Ocala woman says she lost $300K to online dating scammer

The embrace of online dating services, such as dating apps or virtual places to meet people, is a phenomenon that has occurred worldwide. There are dozens of dating apps available; some operate globally, while others only work in some countries that have greater acceptance of them. But without a doubt, two of the most popular applications among the extensive great offerings that exist are Tinder and Happn , which claim more than 50 million users each. Although they come in different flavors, in most cases the criminals committing romance scams study the profiles of their victims and collect personal information, such as their work activity, their level of income, and their lifestyle, because the mismanagement of our personal information in the digital age allows a criminal to build a fairly detailed profile of a future victim. One of the most common methods is the scammer who emotionally manipulates the victim to send them money, gifts or personal information. Another type of common deception is sextortion, which usually begins as a normal relationship between two people who begin to know each other until the scammer tries to take the conversation off the dating platform, such as, for example, to WhatsApp. Last month, for example, in the United States a man who was the victim of this type of scam — he related an attack strategy similar to that in a case reported in Chile in — after having met the person through an online dating site and gained his trust, the scammer requested the sending of intimate photos.

5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer

As the number of dating sites and social media apps has gone up , so too has the number of romance scams reported — from 17, in , 11, in , and 8, in The Cut spoke to the victim of one such scam, Debby Montgomery Johnson, now 60, who lost more than a million dollars to a scammer between and How did you meet the man who would eventually scam you? My husband passed away suddenly in That threw my life into a tailspin.

Lou left [for a short trip] on a Wednesday, and I got the call Thursday morning.

The scammer then used the stolen identity to befriend the year-old widower through an online dating service, and worked to steal his heart.

Sasha-Ann Simons. According to the FBI, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other internet crimes. The ideal partner turns out to be a sophisticated scam artist, and a love-struck single is left not only broken-hearted — but broke. Being scammed by a romantic interest met online is now the most common type of consumer fraud in the United States, according to the Federal Trade Commission FTC. In , nearly 40 D.

And the criminal acts go beyond city and state borders, involving networks of accomplices overseas. Like many victims of online scams, Ann has kept her story private for the past three years, overwhelmed by feelings of shame. The vibrant year-old from Reston was once a homeowner making good money. Today, she’s temporarily living rent-free with a friend who took her in.

We’re referring to Ann only by her middle name because she fears retribution otherwise. After separating from her husband who was addicted to drugs, Ann went online and started dating. That’s where she met Tony, a something Italian man who, like Ann, was single later in life. Tony told Ann that his wife and daughter died in a car accident, that he moved to London for business and that he was living in a hotel.

Woman loses $150,000 in online dating scam

Online dating works. There are millions of singles online in the UK, seeking what we all look for: love, companionship and a long-term future. I met my gorgeous husband through online dating, and during the ten years I worked for Match. Figures published by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau show a scary upward swing:. It was thought that women were the main targets for online-dating scammers.

As millions of people get hooked to online dating platforms, their proliferation has led to The scammer always acts empathetically and attempts to create the impression in the Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter.

The criminals who lured her into an online scam last summer approached her not on a dating site, where she might have been wary, but through the neighborhood hub called Nextdoor. He also lived in her Chicago neighborhood, he told her, specifying a street. Could they have a conversation? Floren, who is 67 and a part-time educational consultant.

They chatted on the site for a week or so. She agreed.

When love becomes a nightmare: Online dating scams

McClellan and Social Catfish spoke to an actual romance scammer from Nigeria in The scammer shared specific details about the scam and even sent a page playbook full of ways to lure in victims, or “clients as the scammer calls them. It starts by creating a fake profile to lure in lonely victims. The scammers target online dating sites and popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The scammer looks for pictures liked by many people and will send messages to people who liked the picture.

What are the common dating scam stories? Many scammers use the same tried and tested stories and techniques to persuade trusting victims.

Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers.

These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money. According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don’t realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one. Romance scammers are experts in social manipulation and can sound very convincing.

Anatomy Of A Scam: Nigerian Romance Scammer Shares Secrets

Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Escape key not available with JavaScript disabled Leave this site. Well-meaning men and women have both fallen victim to this. Find out more about dating and romance scams below. Be wary of giving out personal information on a website or chatroom. Scammers will quickly contact you, often showing you glamorous photos of themselves and gaining your trust.

The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you Victim Tells Her Story.

Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich found that many victims blame Match. And the deeper he charmed me, the deeper I fell,” she said. She said she received emails from someone claiming to be Donald Moore, a chemical engineer on assignment in Malaysia. Davies said the two had planned to meet in Atlanta, and a whirlwind romance took a very dark turn. How fake profiles infect dating sites. WFTV pic. Davies said emotion trumped common sense.

She said she contacted police four years ago and later filled out federal complaints against Match.

Lovers, beware: ‘Tis the season for romance scams

Ogolor, a 50 year old naturalized citizen from Nigeria, lived in Kansas City, Missouri when he committed the various fraud schemes. Ogolor maintained multiple bank accounts. We thought it would be illustrative to share some of his schemes found in the Criminal Complaint.

His story. My brother was contacted by a person on Facebook who claimed to be in the US military in Afghanistan. After convincing him to send iTunes cards, the.

Clues for spotting fake profiles. One day Georgina received a friend request from a serviceman on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. She decided to accept the request and allowed ‘Jim’ to be her Facebook friend. Soon after befriending her, Jim told Georgina he had lost his wife to cancer and his story of looking after her was similar to her own experience when her husband had died of cancer.

S military was nearly finished. He sent me pictures which I now know were stolen from someone on the internet. We became very close and he emailed me every day saying it was easier for him than using Facebook. He said this was the best part of being in Nigeria because it was close to where the precious stones were being mined and he could buy them very cheaply.

Divorcee Entangled in Online Romance Scam – Crime Watch Daily