Valentine's Day isn't the only time you could fall victim to a romance scam

2 months 4 days 11 hours ago Wednesday, February 13 2019 Feb 13, 2019 Wednesday, February 13, 2019 4:05:00 PM CST February 13, 2019 in News
By: Shelby Lofton, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - More online daters than ever before fall victim to romance scammers. 

A new report from the Better Business Bureau said so-called "money mules" trick people into sending them money by pretending to be in love.

Steve Baker, international investigations specialist for the BBB, said there is no target demographic for victims, but most of the people who report the scams are women in their forties. 

"It doesn't matter if you're young or old or rich or poor or straight or gay, they're after your money," he said. 

The report found most of the people running the scams are West African, most commonly from Nigeria. They often pose as U.S. soldiers or businessmen who are away on oil rigs and cannot meet in person. 

Baker said one red flag for scammers using a fake identity is if an individual tries to convince their online significant others to get off dating websites or apps. He said reverse Google image searches are a great tool for verifying if someone is catfishing, or pretending to be someone he or she is not. 

Not only are people sending money to these scammers, they are tricked into laundering drugs overseas. 

One Austrian grandmother was arrested in a Malaysian airport in 2014 for crystal methamphetamine possession, according to CNN.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto said she was traveling to file paperwork in Shanghai for the man she met online. She said she was given a backpack filed with old clothing belonging to her boyfriend. However, authorities found a kilogram and a half of crystal meth in the backpack, according to CNN.

Exposto said she didn't know about the drugs. She currently faces the death penalty in Malaysia.

The BBB encourages victims to report the fraud to BBB.org/scamtracker. Baker said people shouldn't be embarrassed to admit they were scammed. Law enforcement is prioritizing these types of investigations. 

"This is all of us, this is all of our friends, this is all our relatives, this is on our block," Baker said. 

More News

Grid
List
LEARNED, Miss. (AP) — Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, killing two Mississippi drivers and a woman... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 4:30:50 AM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri social services director is resigning to take a job with a faith-based nonprofit. ... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 8:33:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Parents and fans cheered from the bleachers as they watched students of all different abilities show off their... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:34:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People packed the hearing room for a Senate hearing Thursday on a bill that would expand where... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:17:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
OSAGE BEACH - The Osage Beach Board of Alderman denied the passage of a new bill Thursday night that would... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:11:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
TANGLEWOOD - The Callaway County Ambulance District had plans to move into a new building by the end of... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:11:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - It's been four months since someone shot and killed Sioux Falls mother Melissa Peskey while she was... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:06:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Public Transit Advisory Commission met Thursday night to discuss Columbia's bus route changes. According to Columbia's... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 3:50:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A bill to change how Missouri colleges and universities handle complaints of sexual assault and harassment... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:01:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Nearly two years after Robert Mueller took on the role of special counsel to look into Russian election... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 10:18:00 AM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Several agencies responded to a fire near Millersburg Thursday. Officials say they received a call around... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:56:00 AM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - On April 18, 1969, Boone County National Bank filled a model rocket with things from the time period... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 3:09:00 AM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Department is considering removing a fee for dog park users. ... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:05:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
FULTON - Wednesday marked two years since Carl DeBrodie was reported missing from an assisted living facility in Fulton, and... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:04:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A new bill up for hearing Wednesday night is fighting against the discrimination of what some consider... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:05:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An attempt to abolish jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana has failed in... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:52:49 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Some Republican Missouri lawmakers are calling for the resignation of University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor C.... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:26:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney General Eric Schmitt is using a new website to ask Missourians to share their real-life stories... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:25:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 47°
2am 46°
3am 44°
4am 43°
5am 42°