Olayinka Ilumsa Sunmola, 33, of Lagos, Nigeria, was sentenced this morning to serve months behind bars for an elaborate international romance scam he perpetrated from to , U. Attorney Donald S. Boyce for the Southern District of Illinois announced today. Evidence presented in court showed that Sunmola was the ringleader of a criminal organization operating in South Africa that targeted hundreds of women across the United States, including many in the St. Louis area. The thieves managed to make away with millions of dollars in wire transfers and various electronics through the simple promise of true, enduring love.
Letter from Africa: Why Nigeria’s internet scammers are ‘role models’
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Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a year-old from sunny San Jose, California. There’s one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed. They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari.
A firm report details how men and women were targeted by fraudsters.
An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence tricks. Another variant of the scam, dating back to circa , appears very similar to what is passed via email today: “Sir, She had an accomplice in Lagos, Nigeria, who shipped her up to $ million worth of counterfeit checks and.
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A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf. Number of cases rose from to in only two years.
Romance scamming is a big business. Last year, unsuspecting Americans lost $ million to the swindlers. Danielle Serino shares the.
On Facebook and Instagram, there are lottery scams , celebrity impostors and even fake Mark Zuckerbergs. There is also a scheme where scammers pose as American service members to cheat vulnerable women out of their savings. To find victims, they search Facebook groups for targets — often single women and widows — and then message hundreds, hoping to hook a few. Once they have a potential mark, the scammers shift the conversations with their victims to Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, messaging services owned by Google and Facebook, in case Facebook deletes their accounts.
For months or weeks, they try to seduce the women with sweet talk and promises of a future together. Eventually, they ask for money.
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Earlier this year, 10 people located around the United States were arrested and charged in an organized money laundering scheme as they were attempting to wash the cash that they illegally obtained. What was strange about the scheme is how the money was obtained in the first place. It wasn’t through the trading or trafficking of illegal goods or drugs, but rather cash that was sent by unsuspecting women who thought they were building relationships with the scammers.
This type of thing happens more often than you might think. These types of schemes are known as romance scams, and while there is no shortage of scams online, few are more devastating.
Nigerian scams involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large sum of money or a payment on the condition you help them to transfer money out of.
An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence tricks. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. The Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI states that, “An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.
There are many variations of this type of scam , including the scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam , the black money scam , the Nigerian Prince Scam, Fifo’s Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam. While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well. The modern [ when?
Tech firm warns of online dating scams, Nigerian connection
As with other romance scams, members of Scarlet Widow created numerous fake personas to bait lonely men and women into online relationships. Scarlet Widow created profiles on mainstream dating sites and apps, allegedly beginning in It also trawled specialized networks whose users might be particularly lonely or vulnerable, including sites for divorcees, people with disabilities, and farmers in rural areas.
Federal agents arrested 14 fraudsters operating within the US as part of a prolific network of scammers and named 66 others in a count federal grand jury indictment. A new report by Palo Alto Networks, a California-based cyber-security company which says it has researched Nigerian cyber-crime for five years, tries to show how these fraudsters have become a lot more proficient at scams over the past five years, employing more sophisticated tactics and tools to carry out Business Email Compromise BEC scams.
As part of the scam, fraudsters also learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for those payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies. They then target businesses and individuals that regularly perform such wire transfer payments. The antics of these fraudsters have come at a wider cost for most Nigerians, as students, business people and tourists are often subject to extra scrutiny from international payment platforms, potential business partners and embassies for visa applications.
However, high-tech companies bore the largest brunt of these efforts recording around , attacks last year—more than double the number in
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Online romance scams cost Americans millions of dollars every year. Online dating investigation site Social Catfish helps break down how.
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