Online dating scams

Online dating scams, resume scam, and the Henry Ford version of the Nigerian scam: Internet ScamBusters #191

Today we’ll share with you some more of the best advice and stories we’ve received from subscribers on:

– Online dating scams

– How are job services getting ahold of my resume?

– The Henry Ford version of the Nigerian scam – 50 years ago

On to today’s advice from subscribers…

Online dating scams

This suggestion comes from Adam:

I just wanted to notify you of a type of scam that is going on with some of the dating sites. Basically, the scam is to get a guy to set up a PayPal account using a credit card. Here is what I have experienced (luckily, I was smart enough not to fall for it):

A guy starts communicating with a “woman” (the pictures are attractive). Initial contact between victim and scam artist is to take the step in starting a relationship.

The artist then explains that they are in another country (usually Africa: Nigeria or Mali, but England is also being used), and that they will not be returning to the States for another two weeks.

The artists may even send more pictures to the victim’s e-mail address to “legitimize” cooperation of starting a relationship.

Upon finding out more information about the “nice looking woman” — her parents died in a tragic accident and she has no family or friends who can help her stateside, or she was abandoned by her previous boyfriend in said country with no money to get home — this is where I become skeptical and ask if they have gone to the embassy or local church to find assistance to return home. After all, I barely know these “women.”

Once I tell them that I cannot help them with any kind of financial help, contact almost always ceases. Although it is embarrassing to admit, I believe this information will help others.

Sometimes the sad story includes a jewelry merchant selling diamonds and needing the PayPal account for their clients to deposit money in a secure American account that will yield a better profit for the jewelry company. It sounded too sketchy to me, and I recognized it for the scam factor.

I tell them that I have heard their story before, and then they stop contact.

Luckily, the dating sites that I use have an option to report abuse, and I do my best to report each case.

I hope this will help others who are a bit more gullible than myself. Thanks for getting the word out.

How are job services getting ahold of my resume?

Our friend, Dave Taylor, provides a very good answer to a question that we’ve received (in different words) from dozens of subscribers:

I don’t get it, and frankly I’m a bit freaked out: I just got an email message from a company I’d never heard of that said it had matched a couple of possible jobs to my resume, but I never went to their site, never uploaded a resume, and have no idea how they get all that information about me.

Dave explains this is actually a type of spam. To see Dave’s answer, visit Ask Dave Taylor.

The Henry Ford version of the Nigerian scam – 50 years ago

An interesting story that will sound familiar to ScamBusters subscribers from Sidney:

The reference to the infamous Nigerian scam in a recent newsletter brought back memories.

Fifty years ago, I was doing criminal fraud investigations for the Securities and Exchange Commission, one of which became known as The Great Ford Swindle. It was probably an early, crude version of the Nigerian scam.

Victims were told that Henry Ford on his death had left millions of dollars to be distributed to the “common folks” who had supported his company by buying and using Ford cars, but that it was tied up by a series of corrupt government officials (reaching all the way to the Supreme Court!) who had to be paid off, or, alternately, that the money was in safekeeping and that a cash bond had to be put up to release it.

For every dollar contributed to freeing the money, an investor would get 300 back.

A number of supposed official documents (crude forgeries) were displayed to back up the story.

While I concluded that there didn’t appear to be Federal jurisdiction, the perpetrators were eventually convicted of fraud locally.

So you can see nothing is really new in Nigeria!

Time to close — we’re off to enjoy a walk. See you next week.