It’s identifying who they actually are that’s the hard part.
That is why this individual remains a fugitive.”It also explains why romance scams are on the rise: It’s a lucrative and easy crime to commit, and easier still to remain anonymous and beyond the reach of authorities.
“The perpetrators will reach out to a lot of people on various networking sites to find somebody who may be a good target.
Then they use what the victims have on their profile pages and try to work those relationships and see which ones develop.” The subsequent investigation led by Beining resulted in the arrest of two Nigerians posing as South African diplomats who had come to the U. to collect money from the woman on behalf of Charlie, who claimed he was paid million for a construction project he completed in South Africa.
Victims—predominantly older widowed or divorced women targeted by criminal groups usually from Nigeria—are, for the most part, computer literate and educated. And con artists know exactly how to exploit that vulnerability because potential victims freely post details about their lives and personalities on dating and social media sites.
Trolling for victims online “is like throwing a fishing line,” said Special Agent Christine Beining, a veteran financial fraud investigator in the FBI’s Houston Division who has seen a substantial increase in the number of romance scam cases.
“It’s not just the finances, it’s the emotional part, too—being embarrassed, being ashamed, being humiliated.” Even now, though, she remains conflicted.
A part of her still wants to believe that Charlie is real and that their relationship was real—that the e-mail exchanges about church and the phone calls when they sang together and prayed together meant as much to him as they did to her.
We can find out where in the world their computer is being used.
Two men from Calgary, aged 36 and 42, preyed on victims they met through online gay dating sites.
Police would not name any of the sites, but called them legitimate businesses. Chris Liew of the Edmonton police cyber-crimes unit said officers The accused and their victims would connect online and set up a meeting at a public place, such as a movie theatre or coffee shop.
"Because the accused believed that the complainants would be less (rather) than more willing to come forward once they realized they'd been defrauded", she said.
"It is a discreet lifestyle that some victims might have." Liew said she understands it might be difficult for some men to come forward if they've been scammed.