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Friday, March 28, 2008

The State Department Addresses "Romantic Scams"

My roommate got a check for a thousand bucks for living abroad in 2003 and I want a piece of that action. I'm fishing around on the Gov't's site and what! alongside health advisaries for int'l travelers there is a Romantic Scams section.

Birthday Girl with Ben Chapman was a great movie, but can heart-string tugging really be that big of an issue?

I guess so. These are all real excerpts from the State Departments run-down on "Romantic Scams."

"the targeted person is led to believe that he or she has a chance to attain something of very great personal value (financial reward, a romantic relationship, etc) in return for a small up-front monetary outlay."

Elements of a Scam – Key Warning Signs: Scams involve one or more – sometimes all – of the key signs below:

• Photographs that the scammer sends of "him/herself" show a very attractive person. The photo appears to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photographic studio.
• The scammer has incredibly bad luck-- often getting into car crashes, arrested, mugged, beaten, or hospitalized -- usually all within the course of a couple of months.

Gorgeous People in Trouble – The Damsel in Distress

"The Expected Payoff: If he is sympathetic and assists her through her sudden crisis, the boyfriend stands to gain a large degree of gratitude from the young lady. If all goes well, her gratitude for his emotional support will translate, he hopes, into significant goodwill and affection from her when they finally meet. "

Scammer: How re you today?
American: I'm doing well. You are SUCH a pretty woman!
Scammer: Where did we meet -- on African Singles or Single Me?
American: Dreammates, maybe?
Scammer: How’re you doing?
American: I'm doing fine..............are you in Hawaii?
Scammer: Nope get hooked up with little problem here
American: "Hooked up with a little problem?" Explain, please.
Scammer: You care to know? I don't think you can help me out of this mess.
American: Well..........tell me and we will see.
Scammer: My dad he's from us and my mum is from Spain. So I’m a honest lady. And I’m trustworthy lady. And I don’t like people cheating. Right now I’m in west Africa. There was a guy that I met when I’m still at home in Florida (two month ago) so the guy told me that he love me. And I told him that I love him too. So he traveled to west Africa. He called me and chat with me on the phone. He really felt in love with me. So he said I should come and visit him in the hotel. So I went down to west Africa, to the hotel and we meet each other in person. But I don’t really know that the guy doesn’t love me. We have fun and know much more about each other together in the same room. And the next day I can't find this guy any more he ran away with all my money and my goods. All I need now…
American: All you need now?
Scammer: Your help. If you can help me to raise fund and I will pay you back when I get back to the States.
American: How much do you need?
Scammer: $500 US dollars.
American: Don't you have a credit card?
Scammer: Yes that [swear word] stole everything away from me.
American: Which credit card is it?
Scammer: American Express.
American: Did you call them to let them know?
Scammer: Yes, I did and there is nothing they can do about it.
American: Not true.
Scammer: Please help me out of this mess and I will pay you back. If you don't believe me then bye.
American: For someone who seems to need help, you have very short patience, why is that?
Scammer: Oh, patience? Is that all you have to tell me when I am stuck here?
American: No, but I would like you to explain what you did to extricate yourself from your situation first. You might have some options.............
Scammer: What option? Please tell me.
American: Is Amex your only credit card?
Scammer: Yes.

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