Are you wondering if the person that you are talking to is too good to be true? Are there things that you are being told that just don't make sense? Did the person find you on a singles site and start professing their love for you in a short time? Did they tell you that they were currently working or living in a foreign country? Are they telling you that they are having trouble cashing their paychecks? If so, you might be the target of an Internet "romance scam." These scams can come to you disguised in several ways.
The "Reshipping" Scheme
As the popularity of shopping on the Internet has grown, so have correspondingly the number of E-commerce websites. As traditional brick and mortar stores continue to increase their World Wide Web presence, the organized criminal elements have quickly responded by adapting, changing, and bringing their tradecraft to the Cyber world.
Although the "Reshipping" scheme continues to change and evolve with time, one main underlying component remains the same. This scheme requires individuals in the United States who, in some instances, are coconspirators and other times, are unwitting accomplices to receive packages at their residence and subsequently repackage the merchandise for shipment usually abroad.
"Reshippers" are being recruited in various ways. However, the most prevalent recruitment scenario that transpires almost everyday are described as the "Friendship" and/or "Love" via Internet Relay Chat.
While conversing in various Internet Relay Chat "rooms," unsuspecting (United States) citizens are befriended by unknown individual(s) who represent themselves as living or working in a foreign country. At this initial juncture, the unknown subject’s line of recruitment will take one of two paths.
After establishing this new on-line "friendship," the unknown subject would explain that for various legal reasons, his/her country will not let direct business shipments into his/her country from the United States. After the unknown subject has "played" their sad story, he/she would then ask for permission to send recently purchased items to his/her United States address for subsequent shipment abroad. The unknown subject further explains that he/she will cover all shipping expenses. After the U.S. citizen agrees, the proverbial "flood gates" open and the packages start to arrive at great speed. This fraudulent scheme lasts several weeks until the "reshipper" is contacted by either the victimized merchants or they may receive a visit from law enforcement, explaining to the "reshipper" that the recent shipments were purchased with fraudulent or stolen credit cards.
This recruitment method is very similar in nature to the scheme detailed above. However, instead of friendship, this unknown subject uses the art of seduction to ensnare his/her unwitting accomplice. The unknown subject quickly confirms his/her romantic overtures by providing his/her unsuspecting partner with a nominal gift.
After the romantic trap has been set, the unknown subject proffers the idea of him/her being allowed to utilize their partner’s U.S. residential address for the receiving and subsequent reshipping of the recent on-line purchases. Once the agreement has been reached, the packages start to quickly arrive and out of his/her feelings of obligation the packages are quickly prepared for reshipment abroad. Several weeks pass, eventually, the U.S. girlfriend/boyfriend is contacted by the victimized merchants or law enforcement. Shortly thereafter, the strings of attachment are untangled and the boyfriend/girlfriend realizes that their Cyber relationship was nothing more than an Internet scam to help facilitate the transfer of goods that were purchased on-line by fraudulent means.
Mail Order Bride Scheme
Subjects post advertisements purportedly from women living in another country, looking for relationships with men from the United States. Individuals who reply receive emails from the women initiating a relationship, which usually develops very quickly. The woman explains that she wants to come to the country where the individual resides, but she has no money and does not know the procedures or paperwork to complete. A dating agency that is willing to take care of all the necessary paperwork and coordination for a small fee corresponds with the individual.
The individual sends the money and are told that the woman is arriving on a certain date; however, before the date of arrival, the individual receives an urgent email or telephone call regarding a new problem requiring more funds. Regardless of whether the individual sends money or not, he never hears from the woman or agency again.
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