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#430324 by Jimbo2 Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:40 pm
Hello all.

I have an elderly relative, "Betty", who decided to dip her foot into online dating about a year ago. Unsurprisingly, this has opened her up to an almost constant stream of scammers. I thought the least I can do is list some of the scammers details on these forums to maybe help identify them to anyone else they're trying to squeeze money out of.

It all came to a head a few months ago. She doesn't have a lot of money, but still proved useful to some of these guys. One in particular was supposedly running a construction site, working through one last contract job on the other side of the country. Once he was done, he was retiring and heading back to set up home near Betty so they could be together. Unknown to the rest of us, within a month they were sharing a bank account, and he was having her set up other financial and crypto accounts, with all kinds of money transfers coming in and out. A couple of bank accounts were closed due to fraudulent activity. All she told us was that she had changed banks because she got a better service at the new place.

Things started to unravel when she decided to fly up to visit him. The contract was dragging on because, well, sure it was. She bought the ticket and everything, but at the last moment, there was a problem and she couldn't go. I think he was supposed to be ill or something. We start to become really concerned at this point, because up until now, all we knew is that she'd been talking to this guy and we'd been giving her the usual warnings (make sure he's real, don't send any money, etc), and she'd been telling us everything's fine, she's a grown woman, she can take care of herself.

Next thing we knew is that the plans had changed. He was going to send her money to transfer to an account for a deposit on a house in California. Yeah, that didn't seem sketchy at all. :roll: No explanation as to why he couldn't transfer the money himself. Then we found that the first part of the deposit was coming in cash, by fedex, from a woman she'd never heard of, in a completely different state. Yup, she'd been recruited as a money mule. When the box arrived, we took the box, Betty and the whole sorry story down to the local police dept.

That pretty much shut down that scam, and that's when we found out about the shared accounts, fraud, et al. A while later, she gave me her computer to clean up, as the guy had been remotely connecting to it to do stuff with the crypto accounts. While working on it, I found that she was still logged into her Google account, and had a few active Hangouts chats going. As luck would have it, she was in the process of giving her facebook login details to some guy, so I immediately logged into her facebook account and reset the password, and called her to explain. Don't give your login details to anyone, ever. There's no good reason for anyone to need those.

Again, we went over the importance of making sure who you're talking to is genuine before giving out any personal information and never share any account logins. We went through a few of the guys Betty was talking with, and identified them as scammers by searching their photos. That guy isn't a general, he's using pictures of a republican candidate from PA. That guy isn't a cargo pilot, he's using photos from this popular instagrammer. That guy isn't a medic in Syria, he's using photos of a famous doctor in Brazil. Eventually she agreed, they're all fake. She'll block them all. She's done.

A few days later, I notice her computer is pinging again. One of the chats is still active, and this time he's persuaded her to get a Google Play card to help with the reformatting of his computer. :shock: She's stringing him along, surely? Suddenly, she uploads a picture of the card with the code exposed. I grab my phone, enter the code and now I've got $100 sat in my account. He start complaining because the card doesn't work, she says she'll contact Google, especially as this isn't the first card that's failed. :shock: :shock: I call her to explain that I have the money and wtf is she doing sending gift cards to these people. She's $600 in, in an attempt to get this guys computer fixed up because of a picture of hers that is on it. I don't want to know the details of the photo. Just don't send anything else, block them, it's a scam. Eventually she agreed, they're all fake. She'll block them all. She's done.

I finished cleaning the computer up and give it back to her, but not without ensuring I can remote in if need be. She assured us she was done, but just after Christmas, she calls to ask how to get a refund on a Google Play card because she's bought an Android one by mistake. Wut? She bought a Google Play card for an online friend, but he says it's an Android one and he has an iphone. I asked if she's already sent the code. Yes, she has. She sent the image to me, and surely enough, it's been redeemed already. Turns out it's the same guy trying to fix his computer. She's out about $1k now. $1k that she doesn't have for rent or prescriptions.

At this point, I'm pretty much done. I'm keeping tabs on some of what she's up to, but it's just exhausting. She keeps getting sucked back into these fantasy worlds. I thought at least I could start relaying information on some of these scammers, so others might find them and confirm their suspicions.

Thanks for letting me vent!

#430334 by Arnold Sat Jan 15, 2022 6:57 am
Welcome to Scamwarners. By all means post the email addresses of scammers targetting Betty. She may be on a "sucker list" judging by your post.
The two bank accounts closed presumably for money laundering are a concern as the police may become involved. Unwittingly she's involved in crime

#430396 by Jimbo2 Tue Jan 18, 2022 12:27 pm
Thanks, Arnold!

She may be on a "sucker list" judging by your post.

I don't doubt this at all. The police told her as much, that there'd be others crawling out of the woodwork because she's a good target. So far, there have been no legal repercussions. I don't know if this is because it all got shut down before too much happened, or if it's just the slow pace of any ongoing investigations. I also don't know if there are aspects she told the police, but not us, or if there are things she hasn't even told the police. Nothing would surprise me these days.

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