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Sentimental scams

In sentimental scams, criminals target victims mainly on online dating sites, social media, and emails to make contact, and less frequently through more or less casual encounters.

But how does the online scam work?

Scammers who use this system usually post profiles with photographs of very handsome men or women and completely false data. When they make contact with the potential victim they try to put her at ease so that after a short time she can trust the stranger on the other side of the PC, claiming to have strong feelings, to have a prominent position in society, and to times to make vows of marriage.

The scammer after painstaking work and after realizing that he has found the right target begins to make requests such as money, gifts, bank account or credit card details, photos, and videos (even provocative.

The scammer always has a reason to justify why his webcam isn’t working, why he can’t travel for an in-person meeting, or because he needs more and more money. If you don’t send money, the scammer may try to blackmail the victim. If you send money, he will ask for more.

As for meeting a scammer in a club and/or on the street, the modus operandi is more or less the same, that is to guarantee the unconditional trust of your victim and proceed with the same requests, that is: money, gifts, or account details bank or credit card, photos and videos (even provocative to subsequently blackmail the unsuspecting/cheated).

But how to defend yourself?

  • It is essential to verify the personal information that is shared on social networks and dating sites;
  • always evaluate what you send through the network, scams can also occur using the most reliable sites;
  • never leave your mobile phone without protection (password);
  • ask questions, and try to acquire as much information as possible;
  • check the photographs sent to you through the search engines;
  • pay attention to spelling and grammar errors, inconsistencies in stories, and excuses (for example the webcam not working, my mother or father is sick, my documents have been stolen or all my money);
  • don’t share any personal pictures, videos, or compromising materials – scammers may later use them for blackmail;
  • if you accept a meeting in person, it is essential that the meeting takes place in illuminated areas and with the frequent passage of people, communicated to relatives and friends where you are going (perhaps sharing your position with them);
  • never send money or provide credit card, online account, or personal document details;
  • do not transfer money on behalf of other people – money laundering is a crime.

Are you a victim of a sentimental scam?

  • Don’t be embarrassed, this kind of scam happens more often than you can imagine;
  • stop all contact immediately;
  • if possible, keep all communications (such as chat messages) and any evidence that can help identify the scammer;
  • submit a complaint to the Police;
  • notify the site on which contact with the scammer took place for the first time by communicating all the data of the subject’s profile;
  • if you have provided any account or credit card details, please contact the Bank immediately.

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