Love swindlers on dating portals | Pentest7

The FBI announced this week that thousands of people have filed complaints of love frauds on dating portals, resulting in losses totaling about $ 133 million.

In a press release, the FBI stated that from January 1 to July 31, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 1,800 complaints of romance scams that forced victims to send money digitally or send cryptocurrency for someone else Act person.

“The fraudster’s first contact is usually via dating apps and other social media sites. The scammer gains the victim’s trust – by building an online relationship – and then claims to have knowledge of cryptocurrency investments or trading opportunities that will result in significant profits, “the FBI said in a statement.

“The fraudster refers the victim to a fraudulent website or application for an investment opportunity. After the victim has invested an initial amount on the platform and sees an alleged profit, the scammers allow the victim to withdraw a small amount of money to further gain the victim’s trust. After the successful withdrawal, the scammer instructs the victim to invest larger sums of money and often asks them to “act quickly”. When the victim is ready to withdraw money again, the scammers give reasons why it is not possible to do so.

Even more money is withdrawn from the victims when the cybercriminals claim they have to pay additional taxes or fees. Some scammers employ a “customer service group” to siphon more funds from victims and usually stop replying to messages when there is no more money to steal.

The U.S. Federal Police provide the following tips for protecting yourself:

Never send money, trade, or invest on the advice of people you only met online.

Do not reveal your current financial status to unknown or untrustworthy people.

Do not give out your banking details, social security number, copies of your ID or passport, or any other sensitive information online or on a website you don’t know legitimate.

If an online investing or trading website advertises unbelievable profits, it is most likely just that – unbelievable.

Be wary of people who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities.

The FBI announced earlier this year that it had received a record number of complaints about online scams and fraud. Interpol issued a similar warning in January.

In July, a Houston, Texas resident was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for engaging in love and business scams that generated over $ 2.2 million in illegal proceeds. Last week, a former US Army reservist was sentenced to over three and a half years in prison for both love and Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams.

According to the FBI, most of the victims of love scammers are women over the age of 50. Since the number of unreported cases in scams involving the elderly is very high, the actual numbers are likely to be much higher. The scam starts on dating apps or on social media where the scammer approaches the victim and begins the grooming process.

This often includes love bombing, that is, overwhelming the victim with affection in order to seduce them. The next step may be for the victim to send something that the scammer can use against them, e.g. B. compromising photos. The scammers often try to trick the victims into sending money, but the victims can also be used as couriers for money laundering or smuggling illegal goods.

The elderly are often the main target for this type of scam – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – as they are often socially isolated and need personal contact.

Bischoff pointed out that romance scams often go on for a long time and the victims still send money even if they realize they are being cheated, either because they have romantic feelings for the cheater or because they are to be blackmailed.

Romance scams have long been a popular method for cyber criminals to steal money and valuable personal information from people. From 2017 to 2021, love scams were among the top five most lucrative scams perpetrated against military personnel, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

U.S. military personnel lost $ 92 million to love scams between 2017 and 2021, with the average loss being around $ 2,500.

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