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Scammers Continue To Take Advantage of Lonely Hearts

Scammers continue to fake online dating profiles using photos or other people to lure their victims. People reported losing $143 million to romance and sweetheart scams according to the FTC. The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. The scammers quickly profess their love and tug at the victim’s emotions with fake stories and their need for money.

By using popular social media sites-like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts -scammers make the connection quickly and con their victims into wiring money or sending gift cards from vendors like Amazon.

Another variation is where victims are duped into providing online banking login credentials. The scammer then logs into the account and uses the account-to-account / external transfer feature to initiate ACH debits against accounts at other institutions pulling funds into the victim’s account for deposit, or deposit fraudulent checks via mobile remote deposit capture. The victim is instructed to send the funds to the scammer by Western Union or MoneyGram. The ACH debits are subsequently returned to the credit union as unauthorized up to 60 days later, and checks are returned unpaid.

A few red flags of these romance / sweetheart scams:

String you along but never want to meet in person

Scammers often say they’re living / traveling outside of the United States

Hint they’re having money trouble and ask for money, personal info, or account number

Often need money for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel.

 

If you feel you are a victim, please contact the credit union at 404.329.6415.