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“Love scamming”: Sophisticated internet fraud

Photo: Sebastian Gollnow / dpa

A 54-year-old woman from the southern Rhine-Palatinate district was cheated on by a so-called love scammer for almost four years. During this time, the injured party transferred almost 160,000 euros to the alleged actor from the USA, as the police station in Schifferstadt in Rhineland-Palatinate announced.

The woman met the man through social networks and he made her believe she was in love. However, there was never a meeting; contact only took place via social networks. According to the police, it was only when a phone call took place years later that the 54-year-old realized that she had come across a scammer.

The police regularly warn against such criminal behavior on the Internet. In “romance scamming,” fraudsters fake true love on online dating sites, for example, in order to then get the victims to transfer money to them. They build a relationship of trust through chats and phone calls so that they can then complain about financial difficulties and ask for support, preferably via cash transfer.

Most of the time, the scammers are based abroad and communicate in English. To do this, they use false identities and stolen photos.