Beware! Search for Online Love Leads to Fraud

By: Gizbot Bureau

If you think the internet could provide relief to your lovelorn heart, beware! The individual at the other end could be a con, the FBI reported in a survey of computer crime.

Beware! Search for Online Love Leads to Fraud

Last year, the total financial losses in the US due to online fraud reported to the government was to the tune of $800 million, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, said in its annual online fraud report.

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But authorities worry that this is just a fraction of the actual amount people may have been robbed of during 2014 as most cases go unreported.

Beware! Search for Online Love Leads to Fraud

People who surfed the net in search of love were mostly at the receiving end of the internet fraud. Women, especially, were soft targets for cons.

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The worst schemes involve scammers -- masquerading as military personnel -- pretending to seek love online, IC3 said.

The National White Collar Crime Center, which coordinates IC3 with FBI, said online fraud is actually estimated to cost residents and businesses more than $3.5 billion a year, reported.

Beware! Search for Online Love Leads to Fraud

In 2014, people who over-shared on Facebook and other social media sites became the most common victims of cybercreeps, the report added.

"Criminals search dating websites, chat rooms, and social media websites for personally identifiable information, and use well-rehearsed scripts to attract potential victims," it said.

"Victims of these scams believe they are in a relationship with someone who is honest and trustworthy without meeting them in person."

IC3 offered several tips for flushing out suspicious schemes:

-- Do not respond to any unsolicited email, phone call or mail requesting your personal information.

-- Do not fill out forms in email messages asking for personal information.

-- Do not click on email links. Instead, go to the official website of the business or group and start from there.

-- Maintain at least two email addresses - one for people you know and one for all other purposes.

-- Do not engage in business with people or companies that operate only from a post office box address.

-- If someone you have never met tells you he or she loves you but needs money to visit you, do not buy it.

Source: IANS

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