Arizonans who fall in love online could be victims of romance scam

Jul 17, 2018, 5:35 PM
(Pexels photo)...
(Pexels photo)
(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona residents who fall into an online romance may be falling into an online scam instead.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Monday that an investigation into online scams originating from Ghana, a hotbed for internet-based fraud, found that numerous Arizona residents tried to wire thousands of dollars overseas.

The residents had fallen victim to romance scams and other similar schemes, the attorney general’s office said in a press release. They were then tricked into wiring money to Ghana through a money transmitting business.

Over the course of 20 business days, the office said, nearly $14,000 in attempted wire transfers was returned to Arizona residents.

“Scammers who prey on people’s emotions are using these online dating scams more frequently,” Brnovich said in a statement.

“The scammers will often spend weeks building a relationship with a victim before asking for money for something like a medical procedure or a trip to meet in person,” he added.

“You always need to be cautious when you meet someone online, particularly if they’re from another country.”

Brnovich said these types of scams involve taking advantage of people looking for romantic partners on dating websites and social media by pretending to be romantically interested in an effort to get them to send money overseas.

The scammers will often claim they need money for medical expenses or travel costs, but then will run into problems making it out of their home country.

Other indicators that could identify a potential romantic scam include the correspondent professing love at warp speed, promising repayment upon the inheritance of gold or gems or being plagued with medical or other life problems.

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Arizonans who fall in love online could be victims of romance scam