At the conference I mentioned in an earlier post, a question was asked whether a romance victim had ever been subjected to a “black money” scam as part of it. That gave me the chance to tell them about the time that had happened to someone I was helping. It also begs the question, what other scams are done as part of a romance scam. People know about the “I love you, I need money” part, but let’s look at some variations people may not know about:
Sextortion. Scammers can ask for “intimate” images or video, and it’s not just for their own titillation. Once a person finally sees they’re talking to a scammer and refuses to send any more money, the scammer can then use those images as a threat and demand more money to stop them being posted online.
Muling. This can involve money, stolen goods or even drugs. A parcel asked to be forwarded may have been paid for with a stolen credit card, the money they ask a person to accept into their bank account and then sent on via money transfer could be from another victim and there have even been cases where people have been tricked into unwittingly smuggling drugs.
The fake courier. People are told not to send money or goods to people they’ve never met, but what if it appears to be the other way around. A scam that’s becoming increasingly popular involves a fake website pretending to be a courier service. The scammer claims to have sent gifts or even money to the person, then gives them the URL of the fake site as a convincer. When additional fees are requested, it’s not the scammer’s persona asking for it, but what appears to be a legitimate company, and for goods already sent.
The true identity/sponsorship. In this scenario, the victim has finally realised that they’ve been scammed and confronted the scammer. His response is to admit everything, tell the “truth” and claim they really did fall in love with them or that they’re only doing this to make ends meet. If only they could find someone to sponsor them, they wouldn’t need to do this shameful thing. It’s a safe bet to assume you all can guess who would be a perfect sponsor.
Recovery scams. The victim has lost money, maybe finally broken free from the scammer, and then they receive an email claiming to be from law enforcement. The scammer has been arrested and they can get the money back. Of course, it’ll involve paying some admin fees, yadda yadda yadda…. The end result is the victim sucked into a new scam and sending even more money to the same scammer while trying to chase back the money they already lost.
These are just a few of the side scams that can be done. It’s never a simple case of “Hello, I love you, won’t you send me some cash”.