Think you’re immune from getting scammed in an online romance? Think again.
Authorities recently charged 80 people with running scams around the world designed to defraud women of money. Only 17 of those crooks have actually been arrested as authorities try to hunt down the rest — no easy feat when it comes to dealing with other countries.
In one scam, a Japanese woman fell for a man she believed was a U.S. soldier in Syria. She hooked up with him through an online pen pal site. In reality, he was in Los Angeles and was part of a whole crew of thieves. In less than a year she sent him $200,000 — money she had to borrow.
There were quite a few warning signs she didn’t acknowledge. She and her new love never talked on the phone, and he wanted her to do some business for him. In this case, it was to manage a shipment of diamonds he claimed to have found. Meanwhile, as the scam progressed, he kept asking her for more and more money.
One problem is that these investigations take so long. The one above started in 2016. You can’t start an online relationship and two weeks later decide to check the news to see if there is a current investigation or string of arrests. It might take years, and meanwhile you’re in danger of losing your money.
Some things to think about: These online scammers are experts at what they do. They follow cleverly written scripts when they woo. They look for your weak points. If you send someone money, understand that you’ll never see it again.
If anyone asks you to send money, make a report to the authorities. Yours might be the clues the police need.
(c) 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.