Victims who have agreed to meet in person with an online love interest have been reported missing, or injured, or in one instance, deceased.IC3 complainants most often report the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, England, and Canada as the location of the scammers.
The scammers ask victims to redirect the funds to them or to an associate to whom they purportedly owe money.
In a similar scheme, scammers ask victims to reship packages instead of redirecting funds.
In these examples, victims risk losing money and may incur other expenses, such as bank fees and penalties, and in some instances face prosecution.
The principal group of victims is over 40 years old and divorced, widowed, elderly, or disabled, but all demographics are at risk.
Scammers use poetry, flowers, and other gifts to reel in victims, the entire time declaring their "undying love." These criminals also use stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, deaths in the family, injuries to themselves, or other hardships to keep their victims concerned and involved in their schemes.
Scammers also ask victims to send money to help overcome a financial situation they claim to be experiencing.
These are all lies intended to take money from unsuspecting victims.
The IC3 is warning the public to be wary of romance scams in which scammers target individuals who search for companionship or romance online.
Someone you know may be "dating" someone online who may appear to be decent and honest.