Fraudsters create fake profiles on online dating or meet-up websites to extort money from unknowing victims.
In search of love on the Internet, you enter into contact with someone who has an interesting profile, but who lives in another country. You communicate with him/her over a period of a few weeks. Once you establish confidence between yourselves, this person asks you for money to buy a plane ticket to visit you or to take care of a close family member. The request could also be to cash a (stolen) check and transfer the money. You have just fallen into an “emotional scam”.
If the exchanges become more intimate and videocalls take place, the images collected could later serve for blackmail. In this instance, you are forced to pay so that the images are not released on the Internet.
How to avoid this fraud?
- Be suspicious of money requests on the Internet.
- Don’t send any money to someone without verifying his/her identity.
- Do not release your bank account information to people you meet on the Internet.
What to do once scammed?
- File a complaint at the nearest police station/precinct
- Block all conversations / communication with this person