These frequently begin with an online relationship discovered through social media or dating sites/apps. In these cases, the scammer can maintain these “relationships” for years at a time, and they will always find an excuse to avoid coming home or seeing the victim in person at any time.
The scammer will ask to send funds to the victim for them to send back in different forms (cryptocurrency, giftcards, wires, etc) or send to another person (daisy-chaining). The victim will be told that they need to send money because the scammer cannot access the money themselves because their bank is closed/locked/inactive where they are located.
These begin when a scammer begins “spoofing” the information of a friend or family member. This is the process by which a scammer compromises the social media accounts or phone numbers of people you know and requests money while impersonating them via chat, emails, or texts.
Scammers use social media platforms to create fake profiles using fake profile pictures and personas to form relationships with vulnerable victims. Once contact is made and a “relationship” is formed, the scammer will profess their love quickly to get the victim further involved and more willing to start sending funds to them.
Facebook, Instagram, Words with Friends, etc.
Tinder, Bumble, etc.
Discord, WhatsApp, GroupMe, Telegram, etc.
The scammer asks to move off of the app or platform where initial contact was made.
The scammer is held up by customs or detained and needs money for proceedings
Needing funds to purchase airfare, usually asking for much more than needed for such purposes
Needing funds to pay for medical bills after getting into accidents, generally on the way to the airport or in the course of their job
Needing money to help get some sort of inheritance that is supposedly owed to the scammer after which they will give the money back
Needing funds for children they claim to have overseas. Their kids need money for educational costs to medical costs but the scammer never explains why they cannot pay for their own child’s expenses despite usually claiming to be out of the country for work
Needing funds for their job, usually in infrastructure/construction/oil drilling, because the machinery or equipment related to the fabricated job is back-ordered or broken
A tactic used to garner empathy or a sense of importance from vulnerable groups of people. Romance/Relationship scammers are known to impersonate:
The scammer is requesting money because they claim the military is not providing for them (replacing equipment or gear out of pocket), they need money to get home/pay for early leave/breach of contract, or they need money to ship things home from deployment.
Typically done via spoofed contact information or breached social media profiles, the scammer reaches out to family members requesting money for any type of expenses. The recipient doesn’t wish to excuse themselves from phone calls or video chats.
Scammers contact victims through the above-mentioned means, social media, or dating apps to receive funds for a meet-and-greet, or something in return, but the reasons for funds have varied