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Sociopaths and money

5 steps to avoid being taken in a romance scam — beware of fake documentation

A scammer stole this image and used it to start an online romance, then took money from his target.

Fake documentation is easy to create, and romance scammers know it. I recently received the following email from a reader in Denmark whom we’ll call “Grete”:

Unbelievable love scam costs woman $1.1 million in four months

“Grace,” a permanent resident of Singapore, met Lee, a Canadian businessman, through a friend. They kept in contact via Facebook and met multiple times for dinner and drinks. But this was a long con — about six months later, Lee put the squeeze on Grace. He claimed that he was stopped at the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, airport, with US$2 million in cash. He needed her help to prove his innocence.

Then, his accomplice, pretending to be a United Nations employee, told Grace that Malaysian customs wanted US$250,000 in exchange for his release. She came up with the money — and lots more. Nine months later, she reported him to the police. Her money is gone.

Love fraud is nothing new – here’s a case from 1964

Raymon Shaw of British Columbia, Canada, was reported missing in 1964.

On November 25, 1964, Raymon Shaw of Canada called his new wife and told her he’d be home around 7:30 p.m. Instead, he disappeared.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of Langley, British Columbia, Shaw may not have been who he claimed to be.

“Investigators discovered Raymon SHAW had also gone by the names John ADAMS and Walter BRIAN,” says Cpl. Holly Largy of the RCMP. “Further, he was very likely a fraudster who married women to swindle them out of their money.”

The RCMP is seeking information on this cold case. More details:

OMG! Nigerian authorities arrest 100 undergraduates for Internet fraud and love scams

Photo from 360nobs.com.

They’re called the “Yahoo Boys.” They’re Nigerian university students who go to class during the day and commit Internet fraud by night and on weekends. Some of them have become filthy rich.

The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recently arrested more than 100 undergraduates for financial fraud including online love fraud — popularly known as “Yahoo Yahoo.” Over the last nine months, the authorities recovered more than US$765,000 — 26 percent more than they recovered in all of last year.

Internet fraud is big business in Nigeria. Fraudsters specialize in different types of crimes, such as online dating, phishing, or ATM fraud.

Donna Andersen talks about relationship abuse in the Press of Atlantic City

All year long, the Press of Atlantic City, my local newspaper, has been running a series of stories about domestic violence. A couple of months ago, I wrote to the reporters — not everyone who is abused suffers physical harm.

In fact, Lovefraud’s research shows that people who sought therapy because of an abusive relationships reported the following types of abuse:

  • Emotional – 98.1%
  • Psychological – 95.7%
  • Financial – 70.1%
  • Sexual – 49.3%
  • Physical – 40.9%
  • Other – 18.4%

I was interviewed for the most recent article in the series, which appeared today. You can read it here:

Patrick Giblin does time for scamming 132 women, gets out of jail and does it again

Patrick M. Giblin

Patrick M. Giblin

Meet the original large-scale dating scammer, Patrick Giblin, 53, formerly of Ventnor, New Jersey, but most recently residing in a Philadelphia prison. Lovefraud first wrote about him in 2007, when he was sentenced for scamming women that he met on telephone dating services.

Patrick Giblin trolls phone dating lines, taking money from 132 women, on Lovefraud.com.

Giblin was paroled in 2013 and went right back to scamming women. Now he’ll spend another five years in prison.

New Zealand woman steals $170,000 from her mother — and loses half to love fraud

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Irakau Ada Pehi, 60, who lives in Taranaki, New Zealand, was supposed to manage her 86-year-old mother’s finances. Instead of paying expenses according to her mother’s wishes, the woman stole $170,000.

Of that money, Pehi made for bank transfers, totaling $81,000, to an overseas bank. It turned out to be a Nigerian love scam.

Pehi pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of home detention and 200 hours of community service.

Fraudster loses half of $170k she stole in Nigerian love scam, on stuff.co.nz.

 

 

New York Justice Lori Sattler loses $1 million in email scam

Justice Lori Sattler (New York Courts)

Here’s proof that absolutely anyone can be scammed. Lori Sattler, a judge with the New York Supreme Court, lost more than $1 million in an email scam.

Sattler received an email that looked like it came from her real estate attorney. It instructed her to wire $1,057,500 to an account in Arizona. But her attorney never sent the email. Her money was transferred to the Commerce Bank of China.

Police are investigating.

New York Supreme Court judge scammed out of $1 million by just ONE EMAIL: Jurist wires cash to fraudsters pretending to be her lawyer while trying to sell her swanky apartment, on DailyMail.co.uk.

Australians lose $300 million to scams

con manAustralians lost $300 million to scams in 2016, up 47% from the previous year, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

More than 200,000 complaints were filed. The greatest losses, $59 million, came from investment scams, followed by $42 million in losses from romance scams.

One third of romance scams victims met the con artist through a social media platform.

Australians report losses of $300 million to scams in 2016, on SMH.com.au.

$300 million lost in online scams as they reach record levels in Australia, on AdelaideNow.com.au.

 

San Diego district attorney to present seminar on ‘Romance Scams and Love Fraud’

Romance scamWow a financial institution in the U.S. is finally taking romance scams seriously. On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, the San Diego County Credit Union will present a seminar called “Romance Scams and Love Fraud.”

The speaker is Paul Greenwood, San Diego County deputy district attorney. He will cover current scams, romance scams and ways to protect yourself.

If you’re in San Diego, California, you may want to stop by. It’s from 12-1 p.m. PT at the San Diego County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Coast Highway. The event is free, and they’ll even serve you lunch!

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