SENIORS ARE A PRIME TARGET FOR ONLINE DATING SCAMS
The overseas connection. Often, scammers live overseas and will either admit to living there or will say they’re American but “temporarily” there for business or other reasons. Long distance relationships are hard enough when someone lives in the next state over… developing a romance with someone 10 time zones away is pretty unrealistic. Also, some scammers will claim they’re in the military and deployed overseas.
Email marathons. The purpose of online dating isn’t to develop an online “pen pal” – it’s to MEET PEOPLE. Thus, while some chatting over email is important to establish trust, rapport, and interest, extensive emailing back and forth isn’t good because it creates a false sense of intimacy with someone you’ve never met in person. Online scammers are notorious for wanting to chat a LOT – they’re trying to earn your trust.
Flattery. Online scammers will flatter the heck out of you. They will say you’re beautiful or handsome. They will try to make you feel valued. They may also appeal to your ego: if you’re a guy, the picture will be a young, attractive woman who makes it clear she’s attracted to you and wants to meet you. If you’re a woman, the picture will be a nice looking guy who tells you that you’re beautiful and that he’s dying to meet you. The pics are usually fake, stolen off the internet (see Resources below).
Quick intimacy. Online scammers will start talking in romantic or sexual ways very quickly, even dropping the L word. Huge red flag. Regular people don’t do this; how do you have strong feelings for someone you’ve never met? You don’t.
Bad English. Because so many scammers are from other countries (Nigeria is a common one), their grasp of our language is weak. They will misspell and misuse words in a way that makes it clear they don’t speak our language.
Requests for help. And, last but never least, the telltale sign of a scammer is when they ask for money. That’s their end game. The number can be big or small. Often, scammers will have a myriad of excuses for why they can’t come see you or meet in person (another red flag), and will often ask for money to fly them out to visit you, to reinstate their Visa to come to the US, or to pay someone to remove the giant boulder that’s holding them back from being with the person they love so dearly. There’s even a scam where men posing as U.S. military men looking for laptops or other stuff will attempt to get money out of people.
Facebook. Ever look through your messages on Facebook? If so, you probably have a series of messages from random men or women telling you that you’re attractive and that they’re looking to meet a nice man or woman. On Facebook, I accept friend requests from strangers because of the nature of my business; but every now and again I get a request from a guy who has no friends and few to no posts. He always has an Anglo name and a nice photo where he’s by himself, in a uniform, or with a child. Potential scammer. The photos are usually fake and stolen from someone else on Facebook.
Melissa, the reporter who interviewed me, purposely developed a month-long online relationship from a guy who found her on Facebook. Sure enough, he was a nice looking man with a very Anglo-American name. His English was pitiful. He wrote her day and night, asked her what she did for a living, if she were married (she is!), how much money she made. He told her nice things. He probed her for more information. She Google searched his photo and, sure enough, it belonged to some other guy on Facebook, a guy whose Middle Eastern name matched his Mediterranean look. And sure enough, he eventually asked her for money.
In summary, if a stranger contacts you on an online dating site, on social media, or anywhere else, and displays the above signs – or any other sign you find odd – do your research. Run it by other people. Do some Google searches. It’s better to feel a little foolish now than feel much more foolish later.
Some of the Latest Phone Scams
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Phone scam targeting small business owners threatens to cut power if bill not paid. If you are contacted about an unpaid bill hang up and call the company back directly. The number on your caller id most likely was "spoofed"
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Department of Revenue warns about scam and threatening collection calls!
Taxpayers are reporting threatening collection phone calls that appear to come from the state Department of Revenue (DOR). These calls are a scam.
DOR has issued a warning that the scammer is using Caller ID spoofing to make it appear as if the call is legitimate. These calls are not from the Department of Revenue.
DOR emphasized that it will not:
Require payment of taxes in a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest taxpayers for not paying.
Those receiving suspected scam phone calls should not give out personal or business information.
Scams Targeting Taxpayers
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Please See: Consumer Alert: Scammers Change Tactics.
Once Again Note that the IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
DON'T GET "JUICE JACKED" AT THE AIRPORT
The USB charging stations at the airport can be hijacked by hackers to install malware on your device.
Bring your own wall charging device and use the wi-fi connection on your phone, not a public one.
Be safe !