Scam Alert: International Internet Boyfriend Who Asks For Money
On October 14, 2016, we received a report from a resident who fell prey to what is referred to as a “romance scam”. The resident met a man online who claimed to be from London (United Kingdom). Over the course of six months, the two communicated only through Facebook messenger. The man asked the victim to send him money to help him with his business and so that he could afford to come to the United States and marry her.
She wired him over $15,000 through Western Union. However, she was instructed to send the money to his friend in Nigeria who would collect the money for him. The victim did not realize she was being scammed until Western Union halted her last transaction of $2,000 and told her she was more than likely being scammed.
Residents are reminded to not send money to anyone they meet online that ask for money in this manner. You should be wary of anyone online who asks you to send them money via Western Union (especially if they ask you to send money to Nigeria when they claim to be in the United Kingdom). You should be wary of anyone who asks you to open a new bank account or to process their money through your bank account. For example, if they ask you to cash a check they send you and then to send them the money back, you are almost certainly being scammed.
There are several things you can do to check on your own to see if you are being scammed by someone you have never met. For example, if the only picture you have seen of the person you are speaking to is one they provided you in their online profile, you can conduct an image search of that photo with services such as Google Image Search. If you see that same photo being listed under multiple profiles with the same name you can safely assume that the person is lying about who they are.
THIS ARTICLE from the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Affairs Blog deals with this type of scam.
If you suspect you are being scammed online you can report such matters directly to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint