RSN™ Insight: Dating ScamDating scam Dating scammers or love scammers create fake identities on dating apps and social media to coax you into fake online relationships. They often quickly move to personal channels such as phone or email, using your trust to acquire money or personal info, or help you hide their criminal activities. You'll probably never meet them in person. This is a relationship scam. / Identity TheftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. Alert
You May Not Have Thought About It!
Originally published January 2014, Updated September 2018
But The Information You Share In A Dating Profile Is All An Identity Thief Needs To Steal Your Identity!
Even Worse, The Information You Share With A ScammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. Can Almost Guarantee That Your Identity Can Be Stolen!
Scammers are already stealing identities right in front of you! When they steal photos, they were stealing someone’s identity. They are stealing your profiles, your details, to scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. others.
Yes, it is impersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors., but that is a form of identity theft.
However, what we have recently learned is that many scammers have affiliates, some in the U.S. or Europe that then take that information for purposes of exploiting your information. They take your personal details: identity, ID numbers, address and phone numbers, family member names, your date of birth, and bingo – they own your identity. It’s all they need to get credit cards, loans, and even take over your bank accounts in many cases.
Now, before you freak out, just remember that most of the time, scammers will do nothing with the information that you share, but you will need to be on guard and vigilant about your credit reports and any hints that they did.
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Of Course, This Is A Real Risk, And It Is Happening Now!
We encourage you to use an identity theft monitoring service if you have given your information to a scammer!
Here is one service we recommend:
But Regardless Of Who You Use, Protect Yourself Now!
Identity Theft Even Affects Africans Too
From Johannesburg News24:
Identity theft is a real and persistent problem in Africa, and consumers have to be aware that the onus of proof lies with them, Sylvia Papadopoulos, lecturer in the Department of Mercantile, Cyber Law at University of Pretoria told News24. She said that consumers’ financial records may be seriously impacted by scammers who typically target people with spam e-mails and messages in order to steal online banking details and personal information.
“The effects are devastating: Potentially it can mess up your credit records for years and it takes you years and years to rectify the problem,” said Papadopoulos.
The SA FraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. Prevention Service reported in 2008 that identity theft in SA could exceed one billion in annual losses, while some estimates put UK identity theft at £1.7bn per annum.
Despite the checks and balances at government and private institutions around the world, if identity theft does occur, it is up to the individual to prove that a particular organisation is responsible in the event of financial losses.
Proving responsibility was difficult because of the nature of the crime, Papadopoulos argued.
“It’s a very complex situation: Holding someone liable means you need to prove negligence.”
“Now if I’m negligent and you’re negligent, my claim gets decreased by my own contribution to that. That’s as the law stands in South Africa at the moment,” said Papadopoulos.
Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman recently lost thousands in an apparent SIM swop scam. Her bank was able to freezeFreeze Trauma Freeze Response: While fight-or-flight is the better-known way humans respond to certain stressful stimuli, the additional less known third response "FREEZE", was not as widely studied until this last decade. Freezing as a response to a threat might seem effective, a sort of “playing dead” in the face of danger; however, in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, make decisions, or take any action of self-preservation or defense. her account, but the thieves managed to get away with about R360 000. The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said that users are required to care responsibility for their online financial transactions.
“The problem ends up being with the user themselves. We’ve got these appsApps Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. sitting on your mobile phone or your computer, but it’s out of the banks’ control in terms of where you go and what else you do,” said Kalyani Pillay, CEO of Sabric.
“You need to understand the nature of the crime; you need to understand what you need to take to court to prove the person is guilty.”
Laws & Attraction: Dating an Identity Thief
Most people have had their share of dating horror stories – bad breath, rude behaviorBehavior Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams., maybe a blind date gone wrong. But what about a date that ends up stealing thousands of dollars?
Imagine finding that perfect someone. The glass slipper fits and the first few months are perfect—romantic dates, deep conversations and maybe even a blissful vacation. And then you find out that special someone has been using your Social Security number to open dozens of new credit cards.
Think it couldn’t happen to you? Whitney K. thought so, too.
Far From a Fairytale
Whitney ended up spending nine months of her life with a man who drove expensive cars, took her on luxurious vacations and stole thousands of dollars of her hard-earned money.
“It kind of hurt; other people tell me how I could be so naive. But they don’t know the lengths this person was going to,” Whitney explains. Her boyfriend had created fake online profiles, a fake work website and his family was even in on his game. (Whitney became a LifeLock member shortly after these events and was willing to tell her story).
Whitney’s experience is just one of many romance scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.. Both the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov) have reported increased incidents of love-struck victims scammed via online dating sites.
Thieves have been known to meet their targets on online dating sites and create an often-charming, but completely imaginary, persona. Lovelorn victims end up sending money, disclosing information and wasting time with a complete façade.
In 2011, a Philadelphia scammer charmed his way into the hearts of several naïve bank workers at many American banks. The goal? Obtain account numbers, Social Security numbers and whatever else he could get.
He selected his prey based on their close proximity to private banking information, and he manipulated his way into getting exactly the information he needed. The man ended up stealing more than $1 million out of existing bank accounts.
Your Evil Step Sister
Even if falling in love with an identity thief seems far-fetched, ‘friendly fraudFriendly fraud Friendly fraud is a type of first party fraud. Friendly fraud can take many forms, but typically involves an actual consumer obtaining goods or services from a merchant, then claiming they did not make the purchase, did not receive the goods, or only received a fraction of items, in order to keep the goods or services without paying for them.’ has become a serious problem. Friendly fraud? That’s when somebody you know personally—a friend, significant other, family member or coworker—is living a double life as an identity thief and targets you as the next victim. The scam artist may use your close relationship to takeover your credit or bank accounts
According to Javelin Strategy & Research, in 2011, 47% of account takeoverAccount Takeover Account Takeover (ATO) are the unauthorized access of a user’s account in order to steal identity credentials, execute a fraudulent transaction or engage in varying types of abuse. fraud victims reported that they had become targets as a result of ‘friendly fraud’. The percent of account takeover frauds committed through ‘friendly fraud’ increased significantly from the 35% reported in 2010.
Plus, victims of ‘friendly fraud’ cite a mean fraud amount of $3,544 compared to overall fraud victims’ amount of $1,513.
Don’t Be Charmed
Instead of jumping head first into a potentially dangerous relationship, be cautious of these storybook warning signs.
- Spinning Straw Into Gold: Luxury vehicles, designer clothing and extravagant vacations might be normal for a celebrity, but if your new fling drives a Mercedes but works a 40K job, you might want to start asking questions.
- A Growing Nose: Not revealing the truth walks a fine line with blatant lying. An aura of secrecy might seem mysterious at first, but it could also mean your love interest is hiding something—like his real identity.
- Throw Down Your Hair: He loves you, but he can’t afford to come visit you. This is a common scheme that continues to trick enchanted victims. Don’t send money to someone you don’t fully trust.
The bottom line is that an identity thief could be anyone. Privacy is always crucial— no matter how well you know the person.
Real Lifelock Members Sharing Their Stories For Lifelock.
1 “Protect Your Heart From Online Dating Scams.” Better Business Bureau. February 15, 2012.http://greatermd.bbb.org/article/protect-your-heart-from-online-dating-scams-32630 Accessed October 26, 2012.
2 Blumenthal, Jeff. “Identity Theft Perpetrator Used Romance to Get Account Information.” Biz Journals. June 28, 2011.http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2011/06/28/identity-theft-perpetrator-used.html Accessed October 26, 2012.
3 2012 Identity Fraud Survey Report. Javelin Strategy & Research. February 2012.
Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For January – December 2011.” February 2012.
Javelin Strategy & Research. “2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier.” February 2012.
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local PoliceLocal Police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. (www.IC3.gov)
- The ScarsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
Visit our NEW Main SCARS™ News & Information Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/SCARS.News.And.Information
To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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