The Ministry of Interior’s information technology department has issued a warning concerning an online fraud called “Romantic Scam”, which it said has already claimed victims.
The department said on August 30 it had highlighted five of the deceptive techniques of the fraud which scammers usually use with a romantic picture and language to lure people.
Fraudsters first gather information about target victims online and set up a plan to defraud the individuals. The perpetrator then contacts the victims through social media such as Facebook, messenger, Telegram and other platforms.
They next monitor the victims’ information, comments and activities online for a better understanding of their mind and emotions.
The scammers will then chat with them, especially those who are emotionally vulnerable through problems in their personnel life, family or work.
“And finally, when the victims have been drawn into the scam, the perpetrators begin other fraudulent schemes, such as extracting money through various means, including solicitation, pornography or dating, and then commit other criminal acts,” the department said.
It noted that scammers can operate from within the country or abroad.
“As mentioned, those who are using social media platforms have to beware of these tricks and report to authorities if they suspect a scam,” it said.
Nget Moses, an independent consultant on technology security, said most perpetrators of these scams use emotional techniques to convince their victims.
He said that to convince people, scammers often created fake Facebook accounts of success stories using rich and famous people that inspire victims, especially women.
“Most victims targeted were women in their 20s and 30s, some of whom I have met and had been cheated,” he said.
Moses advised all social media users not to give money to strangers over the internet, especially to people they have not met in person. If they suspect a scam, they should discontinue any further communication and immediately ask authorities to intervene.