North carolinians scammed for millions dating online

Linda was ripped off for $8,000 all because she believed Greg was whom he said he was. Linda, from North Carolina, was nabbed by an online crook who promised her love.

This year, 17 (possibly more) such victims have reported a dating scam that has cost them a combined $700,000, says the North Carolina Attorney General’s office. The typical victim is a woman in her early 60s. One victim sent her online Casanova nearly $1.3 million.

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How can people be so gullible?

Desperate for love, victims believe anything their love object tells them. Greg convinced Linda he was an Army lieutenant. After several weeks of texting, he told her he needed medical help for a gunshot injury. She sent him money. Greg asked for more money and Linda sent more. Eventually, Greg obtained her bank account information.

She continued sending him money for this and that, including a plane ticket home where he’d meet her for the first time. Of course, he never came “home.” And Linda is wiped out financially.

Lonely, older women are not the only victims.

Even lawyers, doctors and CEOs are getting scammed, sending out large amounts of money to these fake love interests.

Most of the scam artists come from Nigeria, says the state Attorney General’s office, and it’s a numbers game for them. Run enough numbers and eventually they’ll hit the bull’s eye. They steal photos of good-looking people off the Web to represent the fictitious love interest. The photo of “Greg” has even made a few other rounds.

Often, when the victim figures out what’s really going on, they are contacted by a private investigator or detective offering to find the scammer—for a fee—you guessed it; this, too, is part of the scam.

Solution

#1. Never under any circumstances send money to someone you meet online

#2. The moment they ask for money, it’s a scam

#3. Never share usernames, passwords or account information

#4. If you know someone who could fall for this, get involved now

Many dating sites have some security measures in place behind-the-scenes, to help educate and protect their members. Look on their site and often times you will find help videos of how to avoid being scammed and how to report suspicious behavior so that the dating site can take action. 

The more sophisticated sites also offer a defense-in-depth approach to keeping their site and members safe, by layering authentication, trust, and fraud detection tools to help with the early detection of bad actors.

Device reputation is one technology used by many dating sites that allows them to share fraud and abuse reports across businesses and geographies. Dating sites access Portland-based iovation Inc.’s device reputation service, ReputationManager 360, so that they can stop scammers before they get in the front door. iovation’s fraud prevention service contains over 7.6 million reports of dating scams, solicitations, phishing, account takeover attempts, identity theft, spam and other forms abuse. The service has stopped over 22 million online fraudulent or abusive attempts within online communities alone.

Stopping scams and abusive behavior upfront greatly helps online dating sites not only protect their brand reputation, but most importantly protect their active members.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE [email protected] -to 411247