LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – The Lincoln Police Department says a man lost at least $150,000 in a Facebook romance scam.
On Tuesday, LPD said a 56-year-old man reported that he had been messaging with an unknown woman on Facebook.
According to police, the man explained that the woman wanted him to send her cell phones to an address in Nigeria.
LPD said the woman told the man she would come visit him and bring with her $14 million in gold but there would be taxes and fees associated with the transport.
The man said since February 2020 he believes he sent the unknown woman $150,000 to $200,000 either in gift cards or in bitcoin, according to police.
LPD said the man then searched the unknown woman’s image on the internet and found out that she was an actress in adult films.
How to Spot Romance Scams
Too good to be true. Scammers offer up good-looking photos and tales of financial success. If they seem “too perfect,” your alarm bells should ring.
In a hurry to get off the site. Catfishers will try very quickly to get you to move to communicating through email, messenger, or phone.
Moving fast. A catfisher will begin speaking of a future together and tell you they love you quickly. They often say they’ve never felt this way before.
Talk about trust. Catfishers will start manipulating you with talk about trust and how important it is. This will often be a first step to asking you for money.
Don’t want to meet. Be wary of someone who always has an excuse to postpone meeting because they say they are traveling or live overseas or are in the military.
Suspect language. If the person you are communicating with claims to be from your home town but has poor spelling or grammar, uses overly flowery language, or uses phrases that don’t make sense, that’s a red flag.
Hard luck stories. Before moving on to asking you for money, the scammer may hint at financial troubles like heat being cut off or a stolen car or a sick relative, or they may share a sad story from their past (death of parents or spouse, etc.).
- Never send money or personal information that can be used for identity theft to someone you’ve never met in person.
- Never give someone your credit card information to book a ticket to visit you.
- Cut off contact if someone starts asking you for information like credit card, bank, or government ID numbers.
- Ask specific questions about details given in a profile. A scammer may stumble over remembering details or making a story fit.
- Do your research. Many scammers steal photos from the web to use in their profiles. You can do a reverse image lookup using a website like tineye.com or images.google.com to see if the photos on a profile are stolen from somewhere else. You can also search online for a profile name, email, or phone number to see what adds up and what doesn’t.
Recently, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office started the “Consumer Affair Response Team” or CART for short. The program is designed to assist Nebraskans in addressing scam complaints by providing fraud and identity theft education and dispute resolution.
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