Internet dating money laundering scams
congressman had been used by fraudsters to ensnare a victim. A compelling profile triggers an online discussion that starts innocently enough.
Images sent will of course be faked, captured from social media or other online sites.
"These accounts are used to facilitate criminal activities for a short period of time.
If the account is flagged by the financial institution, it may be closed and the actor will either direct the victim to open a new account or begin grooming a new victim," the FBI added."In other situations, the actor claims to be a European citizen or an American living abroad.
Tricks that were popular in the past included fake job ads where the victims thought they were employed at legitimate companies, but they were actually shuffling stolen funds via fraudulently established LLCs; or fake business ventures, where victims thought they were partners in a legitimate business, but they were inadvertantly laundering money for a cyber-criminal.
On the other hand, online dating sites have been the hunting grounds of so-called romance/confidence scammers.
The older the victim, the heavier the financial toll, according to the FTC — the median individual loss for people aged 70 and over was ,000, compared to ,600 for all victims.
"Most dating sites do not conduct criminal background checks," the FBI advises, "do not ignore any facts which seem inconsistent...These are crooks who befriend a man or woman to establish a romantic or platonic relationship, and then abuse this to request money on various pretenses -- such as for airfare to visit, for bail after being imprisoned, legal fees, and other.But now, the FBI is warning that romance scammers active on online dating scams are changing their schemes, and instead of requesting money, they are recruiting victims to become money mules, and that this practice is becoming very popular."Actors groom their victims over time and convince them to open bank accounts under the guise of sending or receiving funds," the FBI said.In 2018, more than 18,000 complaints were received with losses totalling more than 2 million. And by this time victims have bought into the potential of a relationship—they are extremely susceptible and guards have been dropped. What is a new twist is the involvement of international criminal networks, using dating sites to recruit money mules or to encourage victims to set up bank accounts through which dirty money can be laundered.And, to state the obvious, this is likely the tip of the iceberg. One example given by the FBI is where a fraudster pretends to be a U. citizen living abroad who asks for money to come to the U. The FBI warns that such grooming is intended to set up accounts "used to facilitate criminal activities for a short period of time.