Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Scammers find it easier to find their unsuspecting potential victims through social media platforms and dating apps. In recent years, the number of such crimes has escalated. The journey to recovery from romance scams is long.

Scammers are known to pull their victims through emotions and compliments that put them at complete ease before fattening the proverbial “pig” and butchering them.

You may find it interesting that romance frauds generally end in “pig butchering,” a term used to “fatten” their victims with compliments and praise. Once the victim is “fatten,” scammers will then “butcher” this “pig” financially.

Concerns are raised regarding romance scams, and necessary steps are also taken to ensure the safety and financial interests of the victims. Since major scams are pulled on dating apps, these service providers have taken the necessary steps.

As per the report by the Federal Trade Commission for 2020, many people over 60 lost $139 million in the romance scam. These are just the reported ones; many do not report for fear of being judged by their near and dear ones.

Most senior citizens fall prey to such scams since they are lonely. Scammers find it easier to prey on such people.

This is the story of Kate Kleinert, a Holocaust survivor who ended up a victim of a romance scam and lost $3 million.

How did it start?

Kate Kleinert, aged 69, was in Glenolden, Pa., outside Philadelphia, at the time the scam occurred. She currently lives in Lancaster County. At that time, the entire world had entered a global lockdown due to COVID-19. It was summer when she received a friend request on Facebook from a handsome stranger. The stranger called himself Tony and was a Norwegian doctor who was working in Iraq.

Both used to chat with each other regularly; they were chatting with each other on encrypted messaging apps. It was now December 2020, and Ms. Kleinert had managed to provide $39,000 in gift cards to two others who claimed to be Tony’s sons.

These scammers were so professional that they managed to convince Ms. Kleinert to dive into her savings, the life insurance of her late husband, her pension, and even her income from Social Security.

Over a while, she lost to the tune of $3 million by the time she discovered that she was conned. It was equally heartbreaking when she turned up at a local law enforcement agency, which regrettably refused to help her out due to certain limitations posed by pursuing the case.

Ms. Kleinert said that the loss that hurts the most is losing the promised love and the family that she thought she was going to have.

Ms. Kleinert had fallen for the classic romance scam playbook. Scammers posing to be working professionals, playing an important role, were among those few who cared to make a difference in the world.

They project their larger-than-life fake persona to pull in their victims, who are already in awe of their success. One of the few tactics they pull on their victims is to put them at ease and further attract them.

Scammers will impersonate someone engaged to make a difference in the world, but they will also be a flight or two away from the place where their prey resides. If you were to contact them and agree to meet them, these scammers would make some lame excuse at the last moment and try to avoid meeting you.

Scammers have such a hold on their victims that they start fantasizing about spending time with them and daydreaming often. With such a grip on their victims, scammers will demand and make their victims do things that, under normal circumstances, they would never think of doing.

A Chicago-based lawyer who specializes in elder law, Michael Delaney, said that he had seen elders mortgage their houses, borrow a lot of money from their neighbors, and empty out their retirement accounts.

He further said that he was surprised that many are ready to spend their hard-earned money on someone they have not personally met, and these scammers managed to convince their elderly victims to spend their hard-earned money and other privileges before someone noticed and put an end to it.

It is most unfortunate that many fall victim to such a scam regardless of their age, and what is equally disheartening is that their money cannot be recovered. Such scams can have a lasting effect on their physical, mental, and financial health.

Options for victims of romance scams

Instead of feeling hopeless and lost, try to keep your cool and collect as much data as possible. You should try to recall all the details regarding how you were scammed.

You should also mention your bank account details—the ones you used to transact your money into the scammer’s account. You should mention the account through which you transferred the money, regardless of the mode of payment, like bank transfer, credit card transfer, or wire transfer.

Any conversation between the two of you should also be saved regardless of the platform used, like social media platforms, messaging apps, or dating apps.

After carefully recounting all the details, write them down and approach either the nearest local law enforcement agency or online financial fund recovery agencies.

Approaching a local law enforcement agency for help recovering your lost financial funds can be a good idea. However, you need to call the relevant departments to keep yourself updated on the progress of the case.

Alternatively, you can approach an online financial fund recovery agency. These are professionals who can help you recover your money lost to a romance scam. They have the necessary human resources and a team of experts to track down your lost money and help you recover it. They also have a legal team that might help you bring the scammer to court.

Final Thoughts

When you meet a stranger online, you should avoid revealing details about yourself. It is also advisable that you don’t share much of your personal information on your social media platforms. Scammers are known to stalk their prey through social media platforms.

Scammers are known to use photos of ordinary people for their fake profile photos. Always authenticate the photo through a reverse Google photo search.

Scammers are known to con their victims with fake promises of marrying them once they meet. They are very fast at declaring their fake love to their victims.

Scammers are also quick to move their conversation from a dating app to a messaging app. Try to delay it as far as possible, as dating apps ensure that their users rights are protected if they fall victim to a scam.

By admin

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