Letter from Africa: Why Nigeria’s internet scammers are ‘role models’

These are external links and will open in a new window. In our series of letters from African writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani laments that internet scammers have become role models for many youths in her country. But most shocking for Nigerians was the separate arrest of their internationally celebrated business tycoon, Obinwanne Okeke. The head of Nigeria’s Invictus Group, which has interests in sectors ranging from agriculture to real estate, he was named by the respected Forbes magazine in as one of its 30 top African entrepreneurs aged under He pleaded not guilty in court last week, and was remanded in custody. The FBI publicises similarly sensational busts every few years, often followed by swift convictions and impressive jail sentences. Yet this does little to deter more Nigerian men from involvement in what has been revealed as a widening network of global cyber fraud. When Nigerians first attained notoriety in the s for defrauding Westerners of millions of dollars, the scams became known as after the section of the Nigerian penal code which tackles such crimes. Nigerians, who are generally religious, also linked the aptness of this number to the Book of Psalms, chapter 41 and verse 9 , which seems to describe the typical advance fee fraud: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted his heel against me. These days, the scams, which are conducted mostly online, via email and messaging apps, are often referred to as Yahoo Yahoo.

Romance Scams

Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, and desperate to find love, some internet users turn to online dating. But beware – scammers are.

Martins Friday Inalegwu, 31, and Steincy Mathieu, 24, a husband and wife from Maple Shade, face charges of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, according to the New Jersey U. Authorities arrested Inalegwu while Mathieu remained at large. The married couple and their conspirators, including some in Nigeria, carried out the con from October through last month, according to documents in the case. In all, federal investigators identified 33 victims who were scammed around the country.

Authorities alleged the scammers reached their victims through dating websites and social media, and pretended to strike up a romantic relationship with their targets. Agents found profiles allegedly used in the scam on sites including, eHarmony. The conspirators bilked their supposed online romantic interests out of money using false emergencies, according to investigators. Some of the claims included customs fees, taxes, medical and travel expenses. Court documents show the victims wired the money or mailed checks to the scammers, who used the fake online personas.

In one case, a victim was duped by a profile claiming to be a Kentucky-native and widower who purported to be in South Africa for work, according to a criminal complaint.

Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance

In most cases, the criminals committing romance scams study the profiles of their victims and collect personal information. The embrace of online dating services, such as dating apps or virtual places to meet people, is a phenomenon that has occurred worldwide. Currently, more than 40 percent of single men used a dating app or a dating site in the last month, says GlobalWebIndex. There are dozens of dating apps available; some operate globally, while others only work in some countries that have greater acceptance of them.

One of the most common methods is the scammer who emotionally manipulates the victim to send them money, gifts or personal information.

In fact, romance or “confidence” scams lead to the largest per-person losses of any Internet fraud, with the average victim losing more than $, Here’s a.

We respect your privacy. All email addresses you provide will be used just for sending this story. Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites. According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.

The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher. As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about.

Romance scams break hearts and bust bank accounts (happy Valentine’s Day!)

The suspect has already appeared in court on Monday, facing charges of fraud and money laundering. His sophisticated scheme managed to dupe a few wishful thinkers, but his luck eventually ran out this month. They provided their details and conversations with the perpetrator to the authorities, who were able to arrest the suspected fraudster on Friday. SAPS were ultimately beaming with the bust, hailing the co-operative progress made by both South African and American law enforcement.

Romance scams are the type of cybercrimes most people are sure It started about three years ago, after her divorce, when she tried online dating. she went from bank to bank, borrowing money to send to South Africa.

Correspondents may cultivate the relationship for several months before asking for money, but if they are after your money, eventually they will ask for it. Before you send any money to Ghana, please take the time to do your research and inform yourself. Start by considering the fact that scams are common enough to warrant this warning.

Next, look over this partial list of indicators. If any of them sound familiar, you are likely the victim of an internet scam. We advise U. Many Americans have reported losing thousands of dollars through such scams. In the event you do lose money, be warned that your chances of getting it back are almost nil. Furthermore, this type of crime is not a priority for local police and it is difficult to prosecute these cases.

The Embassy can offer a sympathetic ear, share information on protecting yourself against such scams, and help you determine if your situation is real or fraudulent, but cannot do much else. Victims can report the scam to the FBI at www. The anonymity of the internet means that the U.

Online romance scammer made R13 000 000 in seven years

By Weekend Argus Reporter Nov 30, The national centre gathers and analyses transactional and related information for the purpose of producing financial intelligence reports. One scammer FIC tracked down used an online dating website to extort funds from victims which were paid into a bank account purporting to belong to an entity. The suspect had been running the scam for about seven years.

FBI sting Cape Town fraudster. The suspect has already appeared in court on Monday, facing charges of fraud and money laundering. The SA.

Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay says that although online dating scams have been around for a while, perpetrators are being more sophisticated as more people make use of online dating sites. According to Pillay, perpetrators use various ways of getting money from people who use dating sites, and sometimes operate as a group. Not only do they criminals rob people of their money, they rob them of their self-esteem as well. Most people are on social media these days, and its a great way to communicate.

What these perpetrators do is they scout all of these platforms when your security levels are not set at their highest They are able to select their interests well. These love scams are just like ditching someone at the alter on the wedding day.

FBI warns on dating, romance Internet scams

While 14 arrests have been made, a count federal grand jury indictment unsealed on Thursday Aug. The unsealed indictment shows the evolving tactics of online fraudsters which has seen them continue to dupe unwitting victims despite numerous awareness campaigns about the online scams. Through business email compromise scams BEC , fraudsters use hacked email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either bogus or similar to actual payments owed to legitimate companies.

As part of the scam, fraudsters learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for the payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies and then target businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments, Paul Delacourt, FBI assistant director in charge of the case said in a press briefing. Before his arrest, Okeke had posed a successful entrepreneur and was featured on a Forbes under list as well a BBC Focus on Africa program.

With long-running romance scam tactics through dating websites already well-known, fraudsters have gone as far as impersonating US soldiers and then seeking lovers on social media, particularly Facebook.

Many people use online dating and social networking sites to meet people. But scammers also use these sites – as well as chat rooms. They create fake profiles​.

As millions of people get hooked to online dating platforms, their proliferation has led to online romance scams becoming a modern form of fraud that have spread in several societies along with the development of social media like Facebook Dating, warn researchers. For example, extra-marital dating app Gleeden has crossed 10 lakh users in India in COVID times while dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have gained immense popularity. According to researchers from University of Siena and Scotte University Hospital led by Dr Andrea Pozza, via a fictitious Internet profile, the scammer develops a romantic relationship with the victim for months, building a deep emotional bond to extort economic resources in a manipulative dynamic.

In the UK, 23 per cent of Internet users have met someone online with whom they had a romantic relationship for a certain period and even 6 per cent of married couples met through the web. The results showed that 63 per cent of social media users and 3 per cent of the general population reported having been a victim at least once. Women, middle-aged people, and individuals with higher tendencies to anxiety, romantic idealization of affective relations, impulsiveness and susceptibility to relational addiction are at higher risk of being victims of the scam.

Online romance scams are, in other words, relationships constructed through websites for the purpose of deceiving unsuspecting victims in order to extort money from them. The scammer always acts empathetically and attempts to create the impression in the victim that the two are perfectly synced in their shared view of life.

After this hookup phase, the scammer starts talking about the possibility of actually meeting up, which will be postponed several times due to apparently urgent problems or desperate situations such as accidents, deaths, surgeries or sudden hospitalizations for which the unwitting victim will be manipulated into sending money to cover the momentary emergency.

Using the strategy of “testing-the-water”, the scammer asks the victim for small gifts, usually to ensure the continuance of the relationship, such as a webcam, which, if successful, leads to increasingly expensive gifts up to large sums of money. When the money arrives from the victim, the scammer proposes a new encounter. The request for money can also be made to cover the travel costs involved in the illusory meeting. In this phase, the victim may start having second thoughts or showing doubt about the intentions of the partner and gradually decide to break off the relationship.

In some cases, the scammer may ask the victim to send intimate body photos that will be used as a sort of implicit blackmail to further bind the victim to the scammer.

Online Dating with EliteSingles

Fox News Flash top headlines for August 8 are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews. Dating and romance fraud is more rampant than ever. It all starts when a bad actor dupes a victim into a trusting relationship, then exploits that to get money, goods, or sensitive financial information. The bad guys often use online dating sites to pose as U. The stats back up the growing threat.

How to recognize a scammer by profile photo?

After her husband died last May, Joan Salisbury felt adrift. She started corresponding with a man she met on OurTime, a dating site for seniors. But soon after professing his love for her, he started asking for financial favors. Her online suitor first asked for a MacBook Pro. While online romance scams are nothing new, the rise of social media and dating apps has made it easier than ever for criminals to swindle money from their targets.

For people like Salisbury, the toll can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Fraudsters often target older adults because they’re assumed to be wealthier. Retirees typically have steady income from Social Security, while many also have pension benefits or equity in their homes. But Stokes said anyone can fall prey to romance scams. An AARP survey found that men, young adults and college educated individuals are more likely to report that they were targeted or victimized in an online romance scam.

More than 21, people reported romance scams to the FTC in , up from nearly 17, the previous year and nearly double the number in

Older singles lose millions in online dating scams