What are the dangers from scammers?
You know the obvious one – you fall for a scammer and they take your soul and money.
But are their other dangers?
THAT IS A BIG FAT YES!
So what are they?
Access. To start with the obvious, by friending a scammer you give them access to your family and friends, even your children! This is how they prospect for more victims, like a leech they move from one victim to another. Most people do not have their friends list set to ONLY ME so usually all of your friends can see all of your other friends. It means you are like a disease carrier transmitting or infecting everyone you know.
SOLUTION: Stop friending people you don’t personally know. Also use what you have learned to help your friends and family clean out their friends list. If you help them, they can help others!
RULE: Never Friend Someone You Do Not Know In Person!
Malware. You know what this is right? Computer viruses! Scammers are involved in international malware distribution, because there is money to be made! Ransomware is becoming the most common, but there are others such as email BotNets. The scammer only has to send you a message that contains a link, and you will click it, right? Boom, you are now infected with Malware. If it is Ransomware it will encrypt and lock all of the files on your computer – if you did this at work, it can lock all the files across your who company network and YOU are responsible! If it is a BotNet, this is a kind of virus that sends out millions of emails – Nigerian Price emails, across the internet. These can get your internet access suspended or at the very least slow it to a crawl. There are others including keystroke recorders that let them get access to every account on your computer – email, banking, company, etc.
SOLUTION: Remove all your unknown friends, and don’t click on unknown links. Install GOOD anti-malware software such as MalwareBytes.
RULE: Never click on a link from someone you do not know and trust! Ever, ever, ever!
Blackmail scams. You gave the scammer access to your friends and family, right? So now they know a lot about you. Where you work, who your friends and family are. So one day they say they want some money or they are going to harm your reputation. They are going to message your family or your employer and tell them something serious – like you collect kiddy porn. Will they automatically believe you? There is only one thing you can do. Pay them? Right? NO!
SOLUTION: You immediately go and report this with the police, so it is on the record. So that no matter what they threaten you with, your report with the police will protect you in the end. Next notify everyone that the scammer might have had contact with about what is coming so that they are forewarned. This does not mean it will not be humiliating, but at least it will be manageable.
RULE: Stop giving scammers access to your life.
Sextortion. When you were online with your scammer you did explicit things. You are an adult and what you do is your business. But the scammer did what they do, and they recorded it. So now you have images or videos, or audio in the hands of a scammer and they want money.
SOLUTION: You have a choice here. Either way this will end messy. You can immediate go and report this with the police, so it is on the record. So that no matter what they threaten you with, your report with the police will protect you in the end. Next notify everyone that the scammer might have had contact with about what is coming so that they are forewarned. This does not mean it will not be humiliating, but depending upon what the scammer has, you may be able to manage it.
RULE: Use your common sense and don’t do stupid things with strangers where they can record them, such as on Skype or Facebook! Never send compromising photos to people you have never met in real life!
Kidnapping or Death Threat Scams. Again you invited the devil in the door, and displayed all of your family to them. They can see your spouse (yes many victims are married), your children, your parents, etc. As usual, the scammer wants money and does one of two things. They know that your kids are in school so they say they have kidnapped them and if you don’t give them money via your credit or debit card right then, they are going to harm them. Or in the case of Death Threats they simply say they know where you live and will kill your family. Of course it is all lies (in the case of the African Scammers – Russians are another story).
SOLUTION: Call their bluff – block them and ignore all messages from them forever. You should also report this you’re your local police, both so that they are aware of these crimes and just in case you need their help on this in the future.
RULE: Never Friend Someone You Do Not Know In Person! Disconnect immediately at the first hint of a threat and never connect again.
Becoming a Money Mule or Money Launderer. What this really means is that you become an accessory to their crimes. The penalties for this can be very severe, including long prison sentences. It starts so simple, you have your fantasy relationship online, and then one day out of the blue they ask you for a simple favor. They bought something and wonder if you could send it to them – the overseas shipping it too high and you can get a better rate, or some such nonsense. Or maybe they are in business and someone needs to send them a check, but they don’t want it mailed overseas – so you could receive it and deposit it – then send them a money transfer from your account. The problem is that the checks are usually fake and you get stuck for bank fraud. Or the products you receive were purchased using stolen credit card numbers and you are facilitating their crime and stealing from real people just like you!
SOLUTION: If you are in a relationship and someone asks you to do this, take the checks to the bank and let them tell you that they are fake. They will probably call in the police, but you will be doing a good think instead of helping a crime. In the case of merchandise, when it comes take it to the police and tell them you suspect this is credit card fraud – they will confirm everything and you will be off the hook. Again you did the right thing!
RULE: Never accept or deposit checks you receive from strangers, or access money transfers from strangers. Never reship products that you get from strangers. Always go to the proper authority in all of these cases. Failure to report it can make you an accessory after the fact which is punishable by law.
These are just 6 of the potential problems that come from connecting with a scammer.
What is the fundamental rule in all cases?
Don’t talk to strangers! Just like your parents told you!
Also, you have a duty to always report these crimes. If the police need to be involved, swallow your pride and get off your butt and do it.
Also always report them to the SCARS™ Anti-Scam Data Reporting Network™ on www.anyscam.com or here on our website which can help report them around the world.
In summary, use your common sense and don’t friend scammers. From that beginning comes all the rest.
Romance Scams Now Editorial Team
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