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Tech Talk

When scams become personal
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The holiday season is loaded with opportunities for scammers. Our email accounts aren’t their only likely targets.
Romance or lonely hearts scams are confidence tricks that are popular year-round. Confidence tricks are attempts to defraud you after gaining their trust.
Romance scammers pretend to have romantic feelings for you, their intended victim. Once the scammer has obtained your trust, they commit fraud. They often will get access to your bank accounts or credit cards. In some cases, the scammer will even convince you to commit financial fraud.
The FBI estimated these scams were responsible for $475 million in 2019, alone.
How do they work? The scammers use photos of attractive people to set up fake profiles on social media or dating sites. This is called “catfishing.” The scammers talk with you until they convince you to give them money.
The scammer will claim they need gas money, airline or bus fare, for an unexpected medical or educational expense or to meet and to join you in your home.
How does it end? The scam continues until you realizes you are being scammed and cut off contact. The other possible end is when you stop sending money. When the money ends, so does their interest.
Next week I’ll share ways to spot one of these romance scammers.


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