BBB of West MI is Warning People of Romance Scams
Fall in love, not a scam.
The BBB of Western Michigan is sending out a warning to online daters that scams are becoming an increasing problem. The Better Business Bureau conducted a study over 3 years, that was just released. The scammer takes advantage of people looking for, or vulnerable to, love and the victim ends up becoming a "money mule"... unknowingly involved in something illegal.
Fraudsters need a method to get funds from victims without being discovered.
This makes it harder to get caught. Most of these scam artists use a fake identity and find their victims on websites, apps, or social media. WOOD-TV reports of a Grand Rapids woman who found herself in this situation. Essentially, "she did all of his dirty work."
According to the report, at any given time, there could be 25K romance scammers online, most coming from Nigeria, although they do live and run these scams all around the world. Over the three-year study, about $1 billion was lost because of romance scams in the U.S. and Canada.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, signs of a scam include:
- Says "I love you" quickly
- Claims to be a U.S. resident but out of the country (for business, military)
- Asks for money
- Plans to visit but never comes through