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Perpetrators use legitimate dating websites to defraud people looking for love out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, jewelry, electronics, and even plane tickets. Most of the scams reported to the U. Embassy in Accra, Ghana involve fake personas. Scammers often misrepresent their appearance—using photos that are edited or of others.
Embassy in Accra, Ghana. A lot of individuals who have been victimized truly believe that they are in an actual caring and loving relationship, albeit in a very short period of time.
Halpern: Scammers use stories of fake tragedies, medical problems, and other hardships to solicit money. Criminals will use lines like….
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I can assure you that if I can get this equipment, then I can make more money and we can be together. Halpern: Believing they are in a relationship, some victims break the bank to help their Internet interest.
Shamwell: Some of these victims are actually taking out second mortgages on their homes, they're using their retirement funds, they're doing reverse mortgages, things of that nature. Halpern: Romance scams, a type of crime categorized as confidence fraud, result in the highest amount of financial losses when compared to other Internet-enabled crimes.
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This derives from more than 12, victim complaints to the IC3. The of victim complaints between June and December is more than higher when compared to the same time the year before. These are reported complaints, so the actual confidence scams is expected to be much higher.
These s are not categorized in a way that is possible to determine how many of the complaints or dollar losses stem from West Africa. The majority of victims of these scams are between the ages of 40 and 60, male and female. In9, complaints were received from victims in that age range, while we received just 2, complaints from victims 39 and under.
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If you do use dating websites, Shamwell suggests being cautious and aware of the indicators. Watch out for incorrect grammar and spelling of the English language.
Shamwell: If a person is asking you for any money within one or two conversations, I think that that should be a red flag. I think that if a person is refusing to actually meet you or making excuses not to actually see you face-to-face, I think that that should be another issue also.
They need to be diligent and just be a little bit more conscientious on just exactly what they do and how they do it. And they need to realize that if it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. Shamwell: They work very hard to actually not only identify the people who are committing these crimes but to notify the U. Once that notification is provided, then the FBI comes in and we work with those entities to actually to interview the victims and do our best to actually return funding to them or to actually assist our partners there in Ghana to prosecute the individuals who have been identified in these crimes.
Halpern: Let the FBI help you with your case. If you or someone you know is a victim of this crime, contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or consulate.
Shamwell: We do want to prosecute the individuals involved, but also, we do really want to truly make sure that we provide assistance to those who have been victimized. Halpern: And report these scams to www.
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