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The FBI has issued a warning for Americans to be wary of "confidence/romance scams," after the Bureau saw a 70% annual rise in reported fraud, where dating sites were used to trick victims into sending money, purchasing items or even laundering or muling money for people met online. Department of Defense warning about "online predators on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers." The U. military says there are now "hundreds of claims each month from people who said they've been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites—scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees—even marriage."This warning relates to dating sites, but the use of Facebook as a means of executing the same types of romance scams has also become widespread. But then the fraudster will start to spin a story, perhaps there isa medical or legal emergency, stolen wallets, a loss of employment—or perhaps a sick relative our a child that has gotten into trouble. Perhaps the trickster is "visiting" overseas and needs an item purchased from the U. The initial phase of the scam can last for days, weeks, even months.

The shift from basic fraud to money laundering is a significant worry for U. law enforcement and represents a nasty twist in the age-old problem of romance scams. business owners seeking assistance with lucrative investments."These crimes can target all types of victims, but elderly women—especially those widowed—are especially vulnerable. There can be significant numbers of messages and images exchanged. Dating sites have proven rewarding hunting grounds for fraudsters.

The FBI advises reverse image searches as a way to check—in reality, this is easier said than done.

But if the fraudster cannot be found on social media, if the social media sites do not look genuine then take care.

Phony suitors also seek out targets on social media, and they are increasingly active.Never send money to someone you meet online, especially by wire transfer.Never provide credit card numbers or bank account information without verifying the recipient’s identity. congressman had been used by fraudsters to ensnare a victim. A compelling profile triggers an online discussion that starts innocently enough.You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. There’s an emergency (a medical problem, perhaps, or a business crisis), and your online companion needs you to wire money quickly.He or she will promise to pay it back, but that will never happen.

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