When a friend request from a man who said his name was Greg landed in Sheila's Facebook account, she was intrigued. They quickly started emailing and talking on the phone for hours.He claimed to be working on a rig near Texas and that his contract wouldn’t allow him to leave, which is why they couldn't meet in person.
People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.Two months later, Greg asked Sheila, 49, to pay his taxes."I was resistant at first," she said. I guess to increase my trust."Read More: Sheila wired the money. The abundance of social media platforms, chatrooms and dating apps has led to a rise in romance scams where people pretend to be potential suitors to solicit money.Then she received a message asking her to send more money for an anti-terrorist document fee. In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported 14,546 people were victims of romance or confidence scams, up from 5,791 people in 2014.In a related case, Funmilayo Joyce Shodeke, age 67, of Burtonsville, Maryland, pleaded guilty on March 22, 2017 to conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business, and was sentenced to 13 months’ probation, and ordered to forfeit ,900.
According to the evidence presented at trial, and co-conspirators’ plea agreements, from January 2011 to May 18, 2015, members of the conspiracy searched online dating websites to initiate romantic relationships with vulnerable male and female individuals.Members of the conspiracy used false stories and promises to convince the victims to provide money to the conspirators, including fake hospital bills, plane trips to visit the victims, problems with overseas businesses and foreign taxes.Ogundele, the Popoolas, co-conspirators Olusegun Charles Ogunseye, Olufemi Wilfred Williams, Adeyinka Olubunmi Awolaja and others opened bank accounts, called “drop accounts,” in order to receive millions of dollars from the victims.As one law-enforcement official put it, “Right away, the bad guy knows all about you.” Shortly after her profile and picture went up on Mate1.com, Martin met “Richard Cody.” “Richard was good looking and a U. military officer whom I saw from the pictures he sent me,” she says.After emailing back and forth over a few weeks, she learned he was from New Jersey but was deployed in Iraq.Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.