Part of my personal study of scams is spending a lot of time on Facebook groups reading about how people got scammed. Most of the people in the group are victims of Romance scams. They hope to find more information about their scammer and get their money back. Unfortunately, this opens them up to a second scam.
Many scammers who visit this group pretend to be “Hackers” who can get your money back. When in reality they will just take your money and run…… or worse.
This scammer posted this image. Can you spot how I could tell it was a SCAM?
The person who posted this claimed to be from Homeland Security. They claimed that they had the ability to take over a scammer’s phone and take over their camera.
Can you spot how I could tell this image is Fake? SEE the answers below!!!
How does this scam work?
This kind of scam targets the victims of romance scams. (Vultures if you ask me) The victims are often angry and feel rather betrayed by someone who had stolen their hearts as well as their money. The problem is that the victims are not trained in online investigation and looking for any help they can get. The act of hunting down the scammer is actually set the trap to be scammed again.
Most of the time the extent of their investigation is “Does anyone know this scammer”
Most Romance scammers are not using their own pictures. They will often take the images from another account so asking is pointless.
The problem with asking anyone if they know the scammer is that it tells every scammer who is in the group that you have no idea what you are doing. This means you are ready for them to strike!
Enter the “Hacker Scammer”
When the victim posts “Does anyone know this scammer?” They are approached by someone who claims that “This person who can help you” as a referral. Just like reading online reviews of a cafe. We tend to trust the referrals. One problem … there is a good chance the referral is really the scammer who is using a former victim’s account.
Hacker scammers may not actually have any hacking skills. They claim they can get your money back. But they will need some information first. Like user names and passwords. as well as a small fee.
Desperate to get revenge the victim is happy to pay the fee and provide private information. A few days later they find that they have been scammed a second time. And the hacker is nowhere to be found.
What to do if you have been scammed?
While it feels like you need to take things into your own hands this is inviting trouble. As I mentioned before when you are angry you are not thinking clearly and you will be making all kinds of mistakes. Including getting scammed a second time. While hiring a hacker seems like a good choice, understand that hacking even if it is a scammer is illegal in many countries. Now you have legal problems as well as having to deal with being a victim of a scam.
First, contact the police. Do not attempt to get the money back yourself. There is a very very good chance that you will never see the money. The more you try the higher the risk of getting scammed a second time.
- Accept that the money is GONE! (Yes it sucks but it is)
- Contact the Police
- Call your Bank
- Change all your passwords to all your accounts … ALL OF THEM
- Gather all the coraspondance between you and the scammer and provide them to the bank and the police.
- Report them to them to social media.
- Do not go after the scammer! let the professionals do that.
ANSWERS to the SPOT THE SCAM
In addition to what I have listed above .. if someone is going to be hacking a phone they are not likely going to be using a phone to do it. While it is not impossible to hack someone’s phone with another phone it’s clunky at best. Real hackers would have used a computer to do this …. not a phone. (This sort of thing needs a full keyboard and some processing power.)