Love is in the air…and I really mean “the air”! You have met the man/woman of your dreams. He/She is so special and kind and wonderful. Friendship, romance and marriage are definitely in your near future. What could be more perfect than to find that special person to spend the rest of your life with!!!
There seem to be just a few small hiccups in the way but they can all be fixed. What could possibly be wrong? You haven’t actually met this person but you have face timed for hours because he/she is in Italy or Russia or Egypt or some other foreign country and all you need to do to be able to spend the rest of your life with this special person is to send a little money to help him/her get to the USA. All he/she needs is maybe $4,000-$8,000 and life will be beautiful.
Question is…whose life will be beautiful?
US citizens become victims of scams sitting in their own homes every day. There are all different kinds of scams, but they all share a common goal…monetary gain for the scammers. According to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, here are just a few:
…someone you have never met in person quickly offers friendship, romance and/or marriage. Be skeptical if a person asks for money whether it is to pay hospital bills, visa fees, legal expenses or seems to have a sudden problem and need quick help.
a person contacts grandparents or other relatives pretending to be a grandchild, niece, nephew or other family member and needs money right away. The scammer will usually ask the relative to keep it a secret. Instead of sending money, reach out to the immediate family member directly and verify the situation.
Drug Trafficking Scam…
The scammer makes contact by phone or email and offers a job overseas, the opportunity to do charity work or requests someone to transport documents or items for them. A lot of these scams also offer romantic relationships. Typically, the scammer will offer to pay all travel expenses and luggage. They will ask the traveler to stop in a third country to pick up something. The luggage/item will contain drugs and the victim will be arrested at the destination. Be cautious if someone asks you to transport anything to another country and report it to the authorities before you travel.
The scammer promises significant prize money, but you must pay taxes and other processing fees up front for winning a foreign lottery. If you didn’t purchase a lottery ticket, hit is highly unlikely that you can win a prize.
Airport/”Bag Watching” Scam…
A friendly stranger asks someone to watch his/her bag or purse. The stranger leaves and returns with a police officer or someone posing as one. The bay may contain drugs or other illegal items. The scammers will then extort money or other valuable to avoid hassles with the policy.
These are only a few of the most popular scams happening every day to good, kind people like you. It is not limited to any one type of person. These scammers are smooth talking and seem to know just the right things to say, and well they should. Scamming is their job.
The State Department recommends to protect yourself – and your money – from scams by:
And remember… if something seems too good to be true, it usually is!!!