Beware of online ‘romance scams’

Print Article

MOSES LAKE — It’s Valentine’s Day, a time for love and romance, flowers and dinners.

Also a good time for a reminder from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to the lovelorn that the world is full of scammers out there trying to use love to separate you from your money.

According to a study published this month, the BBB says that Americans and Canadians looking for love online have lost nearly $1 billion over the last three years in so-called “romance scams.”

“Singles trying to develop a relationship often turn to an online dating site or app to find someone,” the BBB report said. “Romance scam victims may be male or female, young or old, straight or gay.”

“The common denominator for victims is that they believe in true love, and they believe they have found it,” the report said.

Fraudsters set up fake online profiles at dating sites — one company that screens online dating profiles says that as many as one in seven may be bogus — and often times pretend to be members of the U.S. military, according to the BBB.

One Nigerian scam artist profiled in the BBB report, Olayinka Sunmola, gained the confidence of several women while claiming to be an active duty service member, and stole and extorted as much at least $1.7 million before being convinced in a U.S. court last year.

“Those engaging in online romance frauds try to build personas of people that they think would best attract the opposite sex,” the BBB report said.

To attract women, men will oftentimes claim to be financially successful and often single fathers in need of help, while women will often attempt to attract men by claiming to be young, attractive and in need of financial assistance, the report said.

The report recommends people not give money or important financial information to someone they’ve never met in person, to use a reverse image lookup website like Tin Eye to check to see if a profile photo is used elsewhere on the web, and to do a little online research.

There are also official ways through the U.S. State Department and the Defense Department to transfer money to service members or Americans abroad.

“Although there have been some significant prosecutions, and the online dating sites are taking some precautions to protect their customers, more can and should be done to stop the fraud, protect businesses’ reputations, and provide help for those whose lives have been destroyed,” the report said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Friday standoff in Moses Lake ends peacefully

August 17, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Columbia Basin Herald UPDATE: The man who barricaded himself in a house in the Larsen neighborhood during an hour-long standoff Friday has been identified. Robert Gwinn, 38, Moses Lake, led deputies on a five mile chase...

Comments

Read More

Newspapers in Education: Herald quizzes part of fourth-grade reading curriculum at Knolls Vista

August 17, 2018 at 9:43 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — Knolls Vista fourth-grade teacher Bill Bertram uses the Columbia Basin Herald to show his students how a newspaper is organized and to sharpen their reading skills. The Herald is vital ...

Comments

Read More

Community gets involved in mural project at the Grant County Fair

August 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — What is art? Who is art for? Can anyone be an artist? Those questions have been debated and discussed in length for hundreds of years. At the Grant County Fair anyone can be an artist. A...

Comments

Read More

Othello School Board approves 2018-19 budget

August 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald OTHELLO — The Othello School Board approved a $66,297,998 budget for the 2018-19 school year at the regular board meeting Monday. Projected enrollment for 2018-19 is 4,434 students. The expenditure ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2018 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X