Other tricks include getting you to smuggle drugs or launder money unknowingly.
Victims include everyone from doctors and lawyers to CEOs and cops, Sluppick says.In many cases, they’re lonely after a divorce, the death of a spouse, or their kids are grown and have left home.They’ll quickly weasel their way into your life, learning your favorite foods or favorite color, Sluppick says.If a friend voices suspicion, the scammer will say the friend is jealous and tell you to stop talking to your friend, she says.If you’re already smitten, you may wire funds to the scammer – no questions asked.
“They are caught in the scammer’s web,” Nofziger says.
The scammer transfers stolen money into the account, then asks you to wire it out of the country, the FTC warns.
Keep your guard up Rather than jumping right into an online relationship, “Be mysterious,” Nofziger advises. Don’t give out everything right away.” If you have any suspicions, search online to check if what he or she has told you jibes with what is publicly available online.
FBI: File a complaint at Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you’ve wired money to a scammer: Both Western Union and Money Gram have websites with information on filing complaints.
Western Union agreed in January 2016 to a 6 million settlement with the FTC over allegations of looking the other way and allowing fraud and money laundering.
Don’t disclose your last name, your address, your place of work or other personal details until you meet your love interest in person. You also can copy portions of emails a love interest has sent and use an online search engine to see if the text appears elsewhere, because many scammers work off scripts, Nofziger says.