Nigerian dating scams
The most common comment of victims who think they have found the love of their life is "I can't believe I was so stupid! From internet cafes all over west African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal etc scammers are zeroing in on their prey - singles looking for love online. The Nigerian dating scams are hugely profitable. The scammers spend their day trolling the dating sites and chat rooms for contact emails, and then send off thousands of fraudulent letters and emails awaiting the victim's replies.
These are external links and will open in a new window. But the romantic emails she's been receiving are really coming from a small town in Nigeria. She's a private investigator who specialises in tracking down online romance fraudsters, otherwise known as "catfish". The catfish are often based in Africa and work from pre-written romantic scripts in internet cafes.
More than a quarter of new relationships now start through a dating website or app, so there's no shortage of potential victims. Most victims are too embarrassed to go to the police, but there are still 10 catfish crimes a day reported in the UK. Roy Twiggs shows me the stream of email conversations he had with someone who pretended to be a US woman called Donna. Roy thought they were in love and were going to get married. Then she started asking for money to help with a building project in Malaysia.
The year-old from Doncaster should be enjoying a comfortable retirement. Instead he's paying off creditors each month using his pension. You're whitewashed, you're totally devastated, you're finished, you just don't want to be bothered anymore. While we are filming we spot a worrying entry on Roy's calendar. When I check the messages Sherry has sent, it's clear she's using the same language and methods as the original catfish. It's far from unusual, as catfish are ruthless with their victims.
If you have been hooked once, you are more likely to be targeted again. I want to catch a catfish by setting up my own fake dating profile. Nearly two-thirds of reported victims are women, so I have become Kathryn Hunter - a wealthy divorcee looking for love. Four men approach me online and they all claim to be US soldiers.
It's an immediate red flag. The military profile is a commonly used cover story which gives catfish an excuse not to meet in person, as well as providing a seemingly legitimate reason to ask for money to be sent overseas. One of the soldiers, who calls himself Paul Richard, comes on strong. On day two, he tells Kathryn he's in love. On day three, he wants to marry her. He takes the conversation away from the dating site and bombards me with texts. There are messages late into the night and more waiting for me in the morning.
After a week, Paul Richard says he wants to speak on the phone. My producer takes on the role of Kathryn for the call. The number he rings from has a Nigerian dialling code. After a brief silence, a man with a thick African accent comes on the line. He doesn't sound like the American soldier whose picture he is using. But Paul explains away his accent by saying he has a cold.
The easiest way to prove someone is a catfish is to find the real person whose pictures they are using. An online reverse image search can show where the pictures came from on the internet. The first three photos Paul sends us don't work, because the meta data has been stripped from the picture. But we get a result on the fourth, a selfie Paul claims is him in his army uniform. It leads us to the Instagram page of Juan Avalos, a real life marine whose page features the same pictures sent to us by Paul.
He has uploaded a warning about catfish because so many fraudsters have been using his photos to scam people. Juan told us: I run into so many messages, even if I show them it's not me they still don't believe it because they are so deeply in love. For the next few weeks, my producer continues to speak to Paul Richard on the phone as I listen in.
Paul talks gushingly about their future life together and his plans to move to the UK to be with Kathryn once his army service finishes. The conversations grow longer and more frequent, punctuated with kisses, flirtatious comments and a regular request for pictures. There's just one thing standing in the way of our future happiness - Paul's son is sick and desperately needs medical attention. Catfish need real people to pick up cash for them as some form of identification has to be shown when collecting transactions.
Some of these money mules are innocent victims tricked into forwarding on cash, others are in on the scam. We don't know whether Marcy is in on it or not, so we head to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, where she lives. Then, just as we think our sting has failed, we receive a notification telling us the cash has been picked up using Marcy's ID. When we ask Marcy what's going on, she claims she's also a victim of our catfish: It was not me, I did not do it.
Please find this person. We search through all the Dan Coolmans in Nigeria and we find one who runs a barbershop in Ibadan. He's using the same number that our catfish has been calling us from. Dan Coolman is another false name, but we discover the phone is registered to Daniel Joseph Okechkwu. We then find a Twitter account with that name and the same profile picture as the one used by Dan Coolman.
We head for Ibadan, but by the time we get there he's gone. The doors to the barber shop are locked and locals say it's been closed for weeks. There is a photo of our catfish posing with a customer on the side of the building, but no-one seems to know where Daniel Joseph Okechkwu has gone. After three months of talking to our catfish, we decide to call him and tell him who we really are.
Surprisingly, he doesn't hang up straight away. He sticks to his story about being a US soldier and insists his name is Paul Richard. He denies scamming anybody and then ends the call. This time, Daniel Joseph Okechkwu confesses. He claims it's the first romance scam he's ever pulled and that he has been forced to do it because of the closure of his barber shop. Our catfish says he wants to stop being a romance fraudster.
But he needs us to give him money, so that he can afford to stop tricking other people out of their cash. The prime minister calls for unity to "break the deadlock" after both parties lost council seats. UK selected England N. Image copyright Empics Image caption Catfish victim Roy showing reporter Athar Ahmad conversations he had with someone pretending to be someone else. It's a tough conversation to listen to. Laura Lyons has to break the bad news.
More on this story. Bank staff trained to spot cash scams as they take place. Video Hampshire Constabulary's romance scam warning video. Internet romance scams: Video Romance scam victim: Top Stories May urges Corbyn to do a Brexit deal The prime minister calls for unity to "break the deadlock" after both parties lost council seats. Elsewhere on the BBC. Ellie Undercover What is 'multi-level marketing'?
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Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but . Nigerian scams involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large. The Nigerian dating scams target the singles looking for love online. They are not easy to spot but there are several warning signs that can prevent heartbreak.
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. Clues for spotting fake profiles.
The man Rhonda Meade fell in love with promised to elope with her to a tropical island paradise where they could be married along white beaches as the setting sun shimmered across vast, crystal-clear waters.
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim's money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
Dating & romance
These are external links and will open in a new window. But the romantic emails she's been receiving are really coming from a small town in Nigeria. She's a private investigator who specialises in tracking down online romance fraudsters, otherwise known as "catfish". The catfish are often based in Africa and work from pre-written romantic scripts in internet cafes. More than a quarter of new relationships now start through a dating website or app, so there's no shortage of potential victims.
Nigerian dating scam database with photos of scammers
Three Nigerian nationals who were convicted of a range of charges - including identity theft and payment card fraud - were sentenced Wednesday to lengthy U. See Also: Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, was sentenced to serve years in prison; Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was sentenced to serve 95 years; and Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, was sentenced to 25 years, according to the U. Department of Justice. Postal Inspection Service. During a three-week trial earlier this year in federal court in Mississippi, a jury found each defendant guilty of a variety of offenses, including mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property. In addition, Ayelotan and Raheem were found guilty of conspiracies to commit bank fraud and money laundering. Federal prosecutors say the three were part of a "large-scale international fraud network" that first began operating in , and that 21 defendants have so far been charged in the case, of whom 12 have pleaded guilty and 11 have now been sentenced.
Popular Scams. While online dating sites work hard to eliminate scammers from their sites, unfortunately some continue to be very deceptive and get past the fraud checks so it is important to be aware of what a potential scammer might attempt to do. Nobody wants to be scammed yet most people are not quite sure what to look out for.
Nigerians Get Lengthy Prison Terms for 'Romance Scams'
Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a year-old from sunny San Jose, California. There's one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed. They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari. A firm report details how men and women were targeted by fraudsters. Crane Hassold, the senior. He said he's seen farmers and religious people fall victim the most to this type of scam. In the report, researchers warn that individuals and businesses are "far more likely to be targeted by West African crime groups" than by hackers working for the Russian or North Korean governments. The online love scam reviewed by Agari was largely based in Nigeria, the report concluded. And while many unsuspecting American have likely received emails from scammers claiming to be "a Nigerian prince," Agari's new report focuses on a scam that is far more elaborate and believable, especially because it preys on vulnerable people searching for love, according to the report. The report includes emails from scammers with phrases the firm says might tip off the recipient.
How I set out to catch a romance scammer
Falling In Love with a Scam Artist
.Nigerian Romance Scams – Extended Interviews