It’s a familiar thing for women: men writing them out of the blue. But be extra careful: it could be a scam
It’s not unusual for women to get random messages from unknown men in social media. While that can be creepy unto itself, it could also be something called a “romance scam”. It’s usually accounts that pretend to be young, attractive men. Often they pretend to be american, sometimes in military service. First they pretend to just want to talk and to have found her by accident. This could be an example:
I was very bored so i just thought of a beautiful name and decided to add. Fortunately, I found you and decided to tell you my intention, hoping for a good correspondence between us.”
The dialogue may be very polite and the person seemingly nice:
„I never meant to invade your privacy. I’m very glad and honored meeting you here. I’m Miles Miller from San Jose California. United State“
If you’re unsure about whether or not he’s a scam, here are several suspicious things to look out for:
Suspiciuous fact #1: The friend list
Scam profiles have many friends, usually 100 to 300 persons, most of them middle-aged women. Often they’re from around the USA, sometimes from around Asia.
Suspiciuous fact #2: He’s a soldier
There’re tons of photos from soldiers on social media. Romance scammers often steal these pictures to disguise themselves. Soldiers are being used because they both are seen as more attractive and at the same time more trustworthy.
Suspiciuous fact #3: He’s getting emotional
While female fake profiles don’t waste time to seduce their victims, male fake profiles work more subtle: During the chat they tell some moving story, like this one:
„I’m a single father of a lovely son, l lost my wife and my lovely daughter 5 years ago in a ghastly motor accident when my son was 9years old and my daughter 7 years old, since then l have being going through emotional pain.“
Cover stories acting as single fathers are used most often, because they evoke pity and enhance their attractiveness.
Suspiciuous fact #4: He’s in Africa
As US soldiers are stationed around the world, the scammer will mention that he’s currently stationed somewhere in Africa. Why? Because it’s important for their scam.
Suspiciuous fact #5: He needs money
At this point we highly advise you to abort contact. It usually starts with small sums, but it’s getting worse fast. In our current case the scammer asked for 200 british pounds to be able to call her. The money should be transferred to an account of Western Union in Africa. But the victim already had talked with him on Google Hangouts. She noticed two things:
- He allegedly had problems using his webcam
- He had an african accent
But it gets worse: The more the scammer talks with his victims, the more money he demands. He claims to want to quit the military and move in with the victim.
The scammer gets more aggressive
At this point we advised the victim to block the scammer on Facebook. But it was not over yet: Since he had contacted her over Google Hangouts he tracked her down and called her on her phone. He asked her why she had blocked him.
Where do these Romance Scammer come from?
It’s not individuals but a whole criminal organisation that’s behind these scams. It’s called the “Nigeria Connection”. It’s several groups of african impostors. Some live in Europa, but most in Nigeria. They are specialized on credit card fraud and much more.
What do I do when I get scammed?
- Abort contact immediately and use every possible way to block the impostors
- If you already paid some money they will not stop to try to contact you
- Save all chats and conversations you can, backup transfer vouchers etc.
- Go to the police and file charges