Perhaps the best way to begin explaining how this fraud works and the effects it has is to begin with a recent criminal prosecution in the U. Olyinka Sunmola is a Nigerian citizen
Western union scams uk dating was running this fraud from South Africa. He posted fake profiles on a variety of dating sites, including MySpace. He used the real pictures of actual people, often claiming to be a serving officer in the U. In these profiles he claimed to be widowed with a child, and to be a practicing Christian with a strong faith.
Sunmola met his victims on the dating sites and quickly moved them off the sites to communicate through Yahoo chat, and attempted to explain his slight accent by claiming he was originally born in Italy or Greece. He spent weeks months developing relationships with his victims, often sending them gifts such as flowers or chocolates, and then asked for small sums of money for supposed minor emergencies in Western union scams uk dating to test the waters with them.
The women were convinced they had Western union scams uk dating their true love and soul mate, and in most cases he assured that they would be married in the near future.
The indictment charges that he defrauded at least thirty women in the U.
Collectively they sent him tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, he used stolen credit cards to order laptops and IPads that he had shipped to his They in turn shipped them to him in South Africa.
Sunmola even had a Western union scams uk dating selling electronics in South Africa, which operated illegally. Apparently all of his stock consisted of items he had stolen in one Western union scams uk dating or another. Sunmola also had one victim apply for a credit card, get cash advances on it, and then send money to him in South Africa through Western Union and Western union scams uk dating. He promised to pay her back, and at one point did pay off the credit card — with money he had obtained from an online bank account he had hacked into in California.
When the bank discovered the losses they went after this victim for collection. He claimed to be a military officer traveling on Western union scams uk dating confidential mission so that he could not cash them himself. Needless to say, she also lost her job as a manager at Wal-Mart. With another victim who was convinced they were soon to be married he had her perform in a sexually explicit manner on Skype, which he secretly recorded. When she refused to send more money she had no more to send he threatened post the video on line.
Sunmola told this
Western union scams uk dating by phone that by the time he was finished with her she Western union scams uk dating want to kill herself. He pledged to ruin her life if she did not continue to send him money. She seriously considered suicide, Western union scams uk dating survived. I listened to several of these women testify at trial. They were very brave to appear and take the stand.
None of these witnesses struck me as unusual and all seemed bright enough. They Western union scams uk dating fallen in love, and were willing to do almost anything for the new love of their lives. In fact, one woman bought a wedding dress. Her friends threw her a bridal shower, and she quit her job. She waited there all night long.
After two days of a jury trial Sunmola changed his plea to guilty, presumably to keep the Court Western union scams uk dating hearing more details about his activities. At a sentencing hearing on August 12,prosecutors recommended a sentence of months thirty years. The Judge has not yet sentenced Sunmola. This case was investigated by the U. The South African police cooperated with the prosecutors. After all these are liquidated they are going to send the proceeds back so that they can provide some restitution for the victims.
Here is St Louis TV coverage of the trial: This is a massive area of fraud. Many of us have heard about romance scams, and most would agree that it is a problem area. However, in order to set priorities — and we all must — it is extremely helpful to
Western union scams uk dating how widespread this activity really is. For some types fraud one can extrapolate the size and scope of fraud from the number of complaints filed with law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau.
In the FTC received complaints. According to the IC3, romance scams was the largest personal fraud crime based on losses reported in The trouble is, there are areas, such as this one, where victims may not even know they are fraud victims for some time, and then when they do realize that they have been defrauded they are so devastated that they never file a formal complaint, or do not know where to go to file a complaint that would become part of a national database.
We know from experience that there are some types of fraud in which victims blame Western union scams uk dating, are emotionally distraught, or are simply ashamed Western union scams uk dating quite unlikely to go to law enforcement about their problems.
To my knowledge, the only organized effort to gauge the extent of this fraud has been undertaken in the UK. Professor Monica Whitty undertook a phone survey of the UK, and in and concluded that since this type of fraud began roughly that there had beenvictims of this type of fraud just in the UK. She also found that 1.
Given that the UK has one fifth the population of the U. S
Western union scams uk dating that there is no reason to think that the fraud levels are any lower here that would suggest that there are more than 1 million romance fraud victims in the U. I have also talked to a noted cybersecurity expert, who I believe to be quite reliable, about how much online romance fraud takes place.
He estimated that at any given moment there could be 25, of these people on line, with the vast majority of them operating from Lagos, Nigeria. This is not just a UK or U. Romance frauds operate all over the world. As noted, the UK is convinced that they have a huge problem. This has also been a priority for Australian law enforcement, where they are similarly convinced that this is a massive problem. The most obvious result of this fraud is the massive loss of money.
There are regular reports in the media of victims losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Law enforcement officials in Australia have told me Western union scams uk dating they believe that there are more suicides in Australia due to romance frauds than there are murders. As far as I know they have not been able to confirm this with actual research, but it is extremely troubling. Of course people who
Western union scams uk dating all their money and do not kill themselves are still in desperate financial and emotional straits.
They are very likely to require public assistance once their money is gone. These frauds tend to involve several stages. First, devising Western union scams uk dating profile and making contact with vulnerable victims.
Many of these tactics are similar to those used by predators of human trafficking and online child pornography. they move to getting the money. During this process they may also use these victims as money mules to process money for other frauds.
Finally, many times the same people are revictimized after they learn they have been defrauded. I address each in turn. The romance scammers operate on dating but sometimes also use Facebook and other social media. There are hundreds of dating websites operating around the world.
Some are familiar because of their advertising efforts. Some charge a monthly fee to take part in the site. Others, such as PlentyofFish, are free sites.
There are also sites tailored to different religious or ethnic groups or for people with other commonalities, such as farmersonlydating. Because the scammers are, after all, crooks, many of them use stolen credit cards
Western union scams uk dating join sites and post fake profiles. In this situation, they try to meet victims, interact with them, and move them to a Western union scams uk dating form of communication, such as email or text messaging. Thus when the dating company notices that the credit card information is bogus, and removes the profile from the site, the fraudster can continue to stay in contact with the victim.
The larger dating sites try to keep the frauds off of their sites. It is not clear that the free dating sites, which depend on advertising revenue, have
Western union scams uk dating similar economic incentive Western union scams uk dating screen fraudulent profiles.
At the site the fraudster sets up a profile, complete with a picture and information about the supposed person. As noted above, Sunmola often pretended to be active duty U.
The pictures are often simply copied from other locations on the internet. Note
Western union scams uk dating the pictures are saved and are of considerable importance to the victims in devising their mental image of the person they think are dealing Of course the fraudsters can, and often do, also set up fake Facebook pages for their aliases. This gives a patina of plausibility that helps
Western union scams Western union scams uk dating dating victim believe that they are dealing with the person represented in the profile.
Sunmola concentrated on women, often those recently widowed or divorced, and often over They often use the name and picture of a Colonel in the US Army stationed The of profiles claiming to be in the US military is used with victims all over the Western union scams uk dating. I have seen it used with Canadian and Australian victims.
Needless to victims sometimes are able to locate the actual military members whose names are being used. This is a real concern for the Pentagon. Because their personnel are not themselves victims there is not a great deal the armed services can do in terms of Western union scams uk dating legal action. However, the US military has set up a very good Facebook page that attempts to warn victims about the use of the names of their personnel.
Bringing the child into the equation seems designed to speak to the maternal in victims, as well as to establish that the scammer is a responsible parent and, thus, presumably a solid potential partner in life. Having a supposed child can also provide the pretext for emergency requests for funds.
For male victims, the profiles tend to feature young women, such as teachers, or even missionaries, who need someone to help them. Again, they steal photographs from other websites.
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Possibly the best road to begin explaining how this spuriousness works and the effects it has is to on with a late-model criminal prosecution in the U. Olyinka Sunmola is a Nigerian citizen who was running that fraud from South Africa. He posted fake profiles on a variety of dating sites, including MySpace. He inured to the real pictures of actual mortals, often claiming to be a serving officer in the U. In these profiles he claimed to be widowed with a youngster, and to be a practicing Christian with a basic faith.
Faking it — scammers’...
Also, do not use this blog to report fraud; instead, file a complaint. Was in LA but now in Malaysia. It sounds exactly like the guy that I've been emailing and messaging..!
Part of me still wants to believe. Better luck to all. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC.
Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country.
Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:. Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC.
If this happens to you, please report it at ftc.
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Ever meet someone from a site without seeing a picture first?Dating fraud experts Scamalytics have informed GDI that Western Union must repay $ million to the victims of online scams. The US. “Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says. online forum, she met Wayne Mays (not his real name) from the UK. Mays is a romance scam-baiter, which means he hangs out on dating sites, posing..
- Faking it — scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money | Page 28 | Consumer Information
- dating, and 20 percent of current committed relationships began also shows online fraud complaints spiked in March and April — the months immediately.
- Dating fraud experts Scamalytics have informed GDI that Western Union must repay $ million to the victims of online scams. The US.
- Has an online love interest asked you for money? | Consumer Information
- Tagged with: imposter, money transfer, online dating, scam I have text msg saying they from western union and FTC FROM PHENOX ARAZONA FROM . I told him countless time even from start that I he was a fraud, a fake!. Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. \western Union fraud | February 29, |. reply. I was taken by a man Ugoeze.
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