Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money. Another common tactic is for scammers to say they are in the building and construction industry and are engaged in projects outside the U. Generally, if someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes, according to the FBI.
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The FBI's internet crime division has issued a warning today about a rising trend in online scams where crooks are using online dating sites to recruit and trick victims into laundering stolen money. Groups who recruit money mules a term used to describe a person who launders money for criminal groups have been active in the past, but they usually employed different tricks and rarely operated via dating sites. Tricks that were popular in the past included fake job ads where the victims thought they were employed at legitimate companies, but they were actually shuffling stolen funds via fraudulently established LLCs; or fake business ventures, where victims thought they were partners in a legitimate business, but they were inadvertantly laundering money for a cyber-criminal. These are crooks who befriend a man or woman to establish a romantic or platonic relationship, and then abuse this to request money on various pretenses -- such as for airfare to visit, for bail after being imprisoned, legal fees, and other. But now, the FBI is warning that romance scammers active on online dating scams are changing their schemes, and instead of requesting money, they are recruiting victims to become money mules, and that this practice is becoming very popular. If the account is flagged by the financial institution, it may be closed and the actor will either direct the victim to open a new account or begin grooming a new victim," the FBI added. After a few months of developing trust, the actor will tell the victim about a lucrative business opportunity.
Based on the number of victims, this type of fraud was the seventh most commonly reported scam last year. Money-wise, it was the second costliest scam in terms of losses reported by those victims. There are scads of similar stories. An example of the rising trend of recruiting mules from dating sites is that of a woman who met somebody on a dating site who convinced her that he was a civil engineer.
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