#onlinedating | Middlesex Boro Residents Swindled In ‘Cruel’ Online Dating Scam

MIDDLESEX, NJ — Be aware if you’re looking for love online. At least two Middlesex borough residents have been swindled in an online dating scam this week that local police described as “cruel and costly.” The local residents lost $11,000 and $4,000 in the scams, police report.

Two separate Middlesex borough residents reported they were conned on dating applications and websites, police reported Wednesday, May 8. These residents were contacted by people through online dating apps, feigning romantic interest.

After days of conversation, although having never met in person, they offered to pay off the victims’ credit card debts, Middlesex police said.

After they were duped into believing that their credit card debts had been paid off, the victims were instructed to, in return, purchase large quantities of gifts cards and to send photographs containing the gift card numbers.

After doing so, the suspects quickly activated and took control of the funds on the cards. The victims lost over $11,000 and $4,000, respectively, as a result of these scams, police said.

Middlesex borough police report these other scams in the past few months (Although the elderly are traditionally viewed as the targets of scams, the ages of all of these victims range between 19 years old and 83 years old):

A resident seeking employment online was contacted by an individual pretending to be an employee of a well-known organization. After an online “interview” and email correspondence, she was told she had been hired. The “company” then mailed the victim several checks, which she deposited. She was told to use the funds to purchase numerous pieces of equipment for her new position. In return, she was instructed to send wire transfers and mail money orders to the “employer” and after doing so, realized that the checks that she had received in the mail and deposited were fraudulent. As a result of this scam, the victim lost over $8,000.

A resident was contacted by a caller pretending to be her grandson. The caller told her he had been arrested and was need of bail money, eventually convincing her to wire him funds. As a result of this scam, the victim lost $3,300.

A resident, contacted by a caller claiming to be an employee of the Social Security Administration (SSA), was told that his identity had been compromised. The caller convinced the resident to purchase a Google Play gift card and provide him with the redemption code in order to “help” secure his financial assets. As a result of this scam, the victim lost over $200.00.

Two separate male residents reported that they were friended on Facebook by individuals who had created what were later determined to be fake female profiles. The residents reported that they were then coaxed into exposing themselves on video chat, which resulted in compromising “screen shots.” The victims were then told that the photographs would be shared with their Facebook friends unless wire transfers were made.

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