Online dating scams ghana pictures

With the recent and mounting revelations of Russia creating fake profiles to influence U. elections, of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica misusing personal data, of celebrities buying phony Twitter followers to pump up their reputations, and other troubling online behavior, I want to tell about another social media scam, for which I am, somehow, one of the front men.

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I couldn’t figure what the heck she was talking about.

As I soon came to understand, and the woman understood, sort of, her relationship was not with me.

The scam moves so far and wide that one of my closest work colleagues showed me a post on the Facebook page of a friend of hers from Buffalo, New York. A woman who was recently romanced by Terri wrote: Hi David, I got to know a guy by the name of Terri Gilbert in November from an online dating website. With profiles on Google and a veterans website, he used my pictures and the bogus promise of VA grants to steal $15,000 from an older disabled veteran in Minnesota.

I want to inform you that he is using your picture as his profile picture at the online dating website…. With the help of the Minnesota attorney general’s office, this gentlemen and I got those profiles taken down.

It was with a con artist, or con operation, that harvested my photos from social media and other websites and used them in “catfish” scams: romancing women online and, eventually, using the affection and trust built up, plus a ruse or two, to ask them for money. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says that what they call “romance scams” now produce the largest share of financial losses of all online crimes.

Soon after the first message, I heard from more women. In 2016, the FBI received almost 15,000 romance scam complaints, with total reported losses exceeding 9 million, up from million in 2014. The Federal Trade Commission received more than 11,000 romance scam complaints in 2016, again more than twice what had been received two years earlier. I couldn’t imagine why these crooks were using my pictures.

Worse, the women who reach this average-looking correspondent are the resourceful ones: people who notice my real name on a name tag I’m wearing in a photo, or who find me via image search. Sometimes they have trouble accepting that the person they were engaging with isn’t real, or isn’t me.

The less sophisticated victims likely fare even worse, and who knows how many there are. The Dutch pharmacist wrote me long messages: Well David, I received a lot of pictures from you…

Eventually, as the relationships deepen, the scammers speak of an urgent, short-term need for cash — for a medical emergency, an expensive divorce, or a business opportunity that would allow the already-rich man to get even richer and allow the couple to be together in paradise for the rest of their lives.

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