Two months later, Greg asked Sheila, 49, to pay his taxes."I was resistant at first," she said. I guess to increase my trust."Read More: Sheila wired the money. The abundance of social media platforms, chatrooms and dating apps has led to a rise in romance scams where people pretend to be potential suitors to solicit money.
Then she received a message asking her to send more money for an anti-terrorist document fee. In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported 14,546 people were victims of romance or confidence scams, up from 5,791 people in 2014.
When a friend request from a man who said his name was Greg landed in Sheila's Facebook account, she was intrigued. They quickly started emailing and talking on the phone for hours.
Looking for love in all the wrong places can cost you. That's because you might open your heart, and then your wallet, to the wrong people.
The UK's City of London Police this week released statistics that boggle the heart. How many people are simply too embarrassed to have been taken for a fool by a heartless scammer? The request for money from a new-found online lover comes, the police say, within the first month on average.
Whenever you check out a profile, their photo is concealed by an abstract pattern, and it’s up to you to find out what lies behind it, through conversation.
But it’s a bit trickier than just sending someone random messages just to see what they look like.
The City of London Police offer all sorts of tips -- from checking whether the potential lover is really who they say they are to never sending any money to someone you've met online.
The FBI warns against those who have profile pictures that are a little too good to be true, profess instant feelings of love or claim to be from the US but are traveling or working overseas.Instead of swiping left and right based only on your matches’ looks, you have to earn the privilege of actually seeing what your match looks like through conversation.And we’re not talking just a few short messages, either.That’s when she realized she was being scammed, said Sheila, who asked that her full name be withheld because she feels ashamed and hasn't told her family and many of her friends what happened to her. The financial loss keeps growing as well: victims lost nearly 0 million in 2016, more than double the nearly million lost in 2014, according to the FBI.The Federal Trade Commission also had a spike in the number of complaints about possible romance-related scams, up more two-fold to 11,149 from 2014 levels.Javvad Malik, security advocate at Alien Vault, said that these findings aren’t surprising, as alongside enticing people with money, employment or threats, love is a common vector cyber-criminals use to try and gain peoples trust to defraud them.