Dating & romance scam: my brother lost $20 000 looking for love

Dating and romance scam victim

His story

My brother was contacted by a person on Facebook who claimed to be in the US military in Afghanistan. After convincing him to send iTunes cards, the person told him he would come see him and marry him. Soon after, he was delayed for another 'special mission'. Excuse after excuse why he could not return home, eventually, he was in a country by the name of Togo in Africa and out of the military but could not come home.

He had gold he wanted to send back (for some reason), which was given to him by saving a Middle Eastern man's life. The gold was seized and he was placed in jail and pleaded for $8000 US dollars to get out. Then he said the church would put up half the money if he could send $4500. My brother is still struggling with the fact this is a scam and wants to send him more money, but we keep telling him this is a scam.

Signs this was a scam

The scammer:

  • professed he would marry the victim
  • claimed he was overseas for work
  • always had reasons why he needed to borrow money urgently
  • had the victim buy him iTunes cards
  • always had excuses why he couldn’t visit the victim.

Avoid this type of scam

  • Run a reverse-image Google search of your prospective partner’s profile photo to help check whether it is fraudulent.
  • Refuse to buy gift cards or make up-front payments. It’s best to avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or Bitcoin, as it is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Be careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.
  • Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos with partners you’ve never met before. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material.

 

*The story above is based on one or more real scam reports received by the ACCC. For privacy purposes the names and images of victims have not been used.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you've been scammed or know someone who has, report it to the ACCC using our report a scam page.

If you have lost money, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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