1. Romance / Sentimental scam

1.1 Definition:

Recently, there has been an epidemic of the 2.0 variant of the marriage scam: the romance scam! Scammers create fake profiles on social networks and online dating sites, find victims and pretend to be in love with them in order to obtain financial benefits from them.

The sentimental scam is treacherous, perfectly oiled, and it pays big. All the more reason to check if you are well informed. Which of the following statements are true and which are false?

1.2 How it works:

The scammer, or the scammers, who goes around on the Internet with a false profile, contacts his victim, for example on Facebook. They start by exchanging a few innocuous words, tell each other a little bit and, surprisingly quickly, the scammer says he or she has fallen in love. If the victim follows up, he or she will be showered with kind words until he or she really falls in love - with a mirage (e.g. a Canadian top manager or an American soldier in Afghanistan). If the prey is a heterosexual man, the mirage will take the advantageous form of a dream woman. It goes without saying that the actual sex of the scammer is irrelevant. For weeks and months, the so-called love affair is built on Skype, WhatsApp, etc. Plans for the future are made until the decision is made to meet.

But then, just before the meeting, the scammer claims to have had an accident, fallen ill or been mugged at the airport. The elected representative is then asked to pay for the treatment, travel or other expenses and to make the payment via a money transfer platform or to a foreign account. But new problems arise and the victim is asked to pay for them each time. But the meeting never takes place.

If the victim refuses or is unsure, the scammer changes tactics. He or she starts to get more aggressive and pushes the victim to the limit by threatening to break up with them. If that doesn't work either, the scammer shifts into high gear. If he is in possession of naughty photos or videos that his enamoured prey had sent him in confidence, he will use them for a vicious blackmail (sextortion). Or a 'competent authority' or 'lawyer' living abroad contacts her claiming to have arrested the scammer and got hold of his loot, and that all she has to do is pay an 'administrative fee' to get the money back... In other words, if you have transferred money once, you will be harassed until you cut off all relations with the scammer for good.

SOURCE: skppsc.ch

PDF: Romance scam

Français
Voici le PDF officiel de skppsc.ch en français, discutant et reprenant l'arnaque de la Romance dans un document bien fait.

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PDF: Romance scam

Deutsch
Hier ist das offizielle PDF von skppsc.ch, das den Romance Scam in einem gut gemachten Dokument diskutiert und zusammenfasst.

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1. Knowing how to recognise a sentimental scam :
  • Whether on Facebook or other social networks, do not accept friend requests from people you do not know in real life.
  • Ask yourself why a rich, attractive person in a distant country with no connection to your life suddenly wants to start a long-distance relationship with you.
  • Be wary if the person you are talking to on a dating website talks about true love before you meet them for the first time.
  • Cut off all contact if you are asked for money or if you are asked to send goods (e.g. mobile phones, iTunes cards, etc.) or to receive parcels.
  • Do not make your bank account available for financial transactions for third parties, as this would make you liable to prosecution (money laundering)!
  • Never send naughty or compromising personal photos that you would not publish yourself.
  • Remember that everything on the Internet can be falsified: complete profiles with a list of friends, photos, official documents, films, credentials, copies of passports, telephone numbers, etc.
2. How to outsmart a sentimental scam :
  • Stop sending money or goods.
  • File a complaint with the police.
  • Then permanently cut off all contact with the scammer and block them on all your channels.
  • Do not get involved if you are contacted by so-called redressers (e.g. Interpol, a police authority abroad, a victim advocate, etc.).
  • Talk about the incident with someone you trust and ask for psychological help, if the whole thing is weighing on you.
  • If you have financial problems, contact the debt counselling service in your canton.
3. How to help someone you know who is a victim of a scam :
  • Use our information to convince your acquaintance that she is a victim of a scam.
  • Persuade them to go to the police station with you to file a complaint.
  • If the victim still does not listen to reason and risks putting her financial situation at risk to meet the scammer's demands, contact the cantonal adult protection authority.


2. Other known scams

2.1. Someone wants YOU to buy crypto for them
Victims are contacted via email or phone and suggested a job opportunity, and are then e-transferred large sums of money to their bank account (usually around $3K). They are then asked to withdraw the cash (leaving some minor amount as fee for work) and use it to purchase bitcoin as part of an employment application process (usually via bitcoin ATM), or deposit funds to particular bitcoin QR address, which is the same.

The thieves usually offer a reward of $50-$100 for the victim's assistance. A few days later the money sent via the e-transfer is linked to a stolen bank account and the transfer is reversed, leaving the victim with a negative balance and no bitcoins.

SOURCE: Krebs. Here is one of many posts on reddit with details of how a person was scammed.

If you have been asked to purchase bitcoin for another individual or company, you may be the victim of an elaborate scam.
2.2. Cheap offers
Another way people are scammed is over some unbelievably cheap offering, usually of relatively still at large purchase price, e.g. used car listing on craiglist or ebay at a price 2 times lower than the market's.

The person is then asked to make a bitcoin payment to the given QR code, and usually bitcoin ATMs are used as a medium to make such payment. After bitcoins are sent seller disappears leaving the customer without funds, as bitcoin payments are not reversible.

2.3. Double your coins!
The latest scam that works besides the ones mentioned previously, is the "Double your crypto" scam.

It usually consists on a well put web site, live stream (on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, ...) advertisements that will promote this brand new web site / service / token / and so on, with the best offers ever as a launch gift, that consist of: "Send us x amount of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and we send you back twice the amount!".

It usually propose BTC or ETH, but you might also encounter scam on other coins / tokens, but the idea, not matter what the "project" is, will always be the same: "Send us money (crypto) and we send you back the double".

Always read everything about a project! Read the White Paper! Check what the crypto community think or heard about it, and so on.


If you have any question, or you think you might be a victim of one of those scams, feel free to contact us: support@tibc.ch