A lot of people have been tricked by scammers who take advantage of people’s feelings to make an easy profit. At least 2% of all British internauts know a person that had fallen for such an online trick.
The UK Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) commissioned a study made by YouGov in order to precisely determine the scale of this problem.
Online romance scam artists mostly rely on social networks. They create false profiles, where they post information and photographs that they consider will instantly attract someone. After developing a romantic relationship with their soon-to-be victim and after their trust is earned they usualy make up some story about how they urgently need a certain amount of money.
As the numbers reveal, in most cases the perpetrator gets away with a considerable amount of funds before the mark notices that something isn’t right.
“SOCA has worked hard to understand the nature of this crime and how it can be tackled, and this study provides further insights into the extent to which it is affecting people in the UK. The fact that 52% of respondents were aware of romance scams shows that progress has been made in raising awareness, but also that millions of people in the UK remain at risk of being successfully targeted by the crime groups committing this type of fraud,” revealed Colin Woodcock, Senior Manager for Fraud Prevention.
“The perpetrators spend long periods of time grooming their victims, working out their vulnerabilities and when the time is right to ask for money.”
The agency concluded that in most cases the masterminds behind these deceptions operate from outside the United Kingdom. Their efforts are repaid with amounts of money as large as £240,000 (€270,000 or $374,000), in some cases even involving the victim in cash laundering schemes.
The UK Action Fraud organization released a document in which they outline the methods used by these crooks in their attempts of making someone fall for them.
These kinds of shams take place all over the world and to make sure you won’t be the next victim you must follow a few simple rules:
– never send anyone money, no matter how persuasive the story is;
– don’t give out personal or financial information to someone who you’ve barely met or don’t know in person;
– sharing compromising photographs is never a good idea;
– always be vigilant if you’re out looking online for someone who could be your soul mate. Source: Softpedia