Thursday, 3 March 2011

Man Loses More than His Pride in Online Scheme

It’s a story that will make you rethink online relationships and this phenomenon of social networking altogether.
A 48-year old man from Illinois who managed to keep a relationship for two and a half years was recently swindled and lost not only his girlfriend, but $200,000 along with her, in a bizarre online scheme that will rival the Nigerian money offers. The twist? The relationship with said girlfriend was strictly online and the two had never physically met during their entire courtship. To add insult to injury, the middle-aged Romeo was taken for a fool when it was then learned that the girl never even existed to begin with. 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the man wired the money to different bank accounts in Nigeria, Malaysia, England and the United States. In “disbelief” over the scam, the man originally asked the Naperville police to help him find his girlfriend whom he believed was kidnapped abroad in England. The ID of the woman was nothing but a sample Florida driver’s license that was not, in fact, a real person.
How the man came up with the kidnapping story in the first place is a mystery, however, it certainly adds to the drama of the situation. Knowing where the cash was going led police to believe that the victim was nothing more than the prey of some very clever schemers.
The Federal Trade Commission recently issued some guidelines to help star-crossed lovers avoid falling into the throes of an online dating scam.
The FTC states that sometimes, “online romance can be a fantasy, perpetrated by scam artists who are in it for the money rather than the relationship. The agency cautions people active on dating sites to use their heads as well as their hearts.”
Often, requests for money generally do not stop if you respond to one. Victims are usually asked for more money for other various “needs,” such as airline tickets, for hospitalizations or detention in another country.
The rule of thumb is, if you’re sending money to someone you haven’t physically met, chances are you’re already involved in a relationship that will never end up with a happily ever after.

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