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.The scammers choose chat rooms and dating sites because the person in love offers the chance of the biggest payoffs.The Nigerian dating scams are often not easy to detect as the scammers are often highly educated, have exceptional patience and they do their homework!They ask you to: Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine?If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
They prefer to use images of white people capitalising on stereotypes and perceptions.According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime.It’s not uncommon for victims to lose tens of thousands of dollars. “He was saying all the right things,” she remembered. It’s called a romance scam, and this devastating Internet crime is on the rise. The woman, in her 50s and struggling in her marriage, was happy to find someone to chat with. He was very positive, and I felt like there was a real connection there.”That connection would end up costing the woman million and an untold amount of heartache after the man she fell in love with—whom she never met in person—took her for every cent she had.