Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Nigerian man arrested for exporting $40million scam to the US

Lagos – Six U.S. citizens and a Nigerian national were sentenced Tuesday to federal prison for their roles in online fraud schemes that distributed more than $40 million in counterfeit checks using “mystery shopper” websites and work-from-home scams.

The criminal enterprise was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Funso Hassan, 27, of Ibadan, Nigeria and Anthony Shane Jeffers, 44, of Maryville, Tennessee, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison. Ann Louise Franzen, 70, of Kiln, Mississippi; Gary Melvin Barnard, 64, of Palestine, Texas; Michele Gayle Fee, 55, of Stockton, California; Tanya Lynn Thomas, 52, of Turlock, California; and Shawn Ann White, 44, of Manteca, California, were each sentenced to five years in prison.

In addition to the prison sentences, U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., of the Southern District of Mississippi sentenced each defendant to three years supervised release following completeion of their sentences. Restitution to the victims for all defendants will be determined at a later date. The sentences are the maximum statutory penalty for the charges to which the defendants pleaded.

All seven defendants were members of a large-scale international financial fraud conspiracy that included romance scams through online dating sites, check fraud, secret shopper schemes and personal assistant work-from-home schemes.

Some of the defendants started as romance scam victims only later becoming knowing participants in the counterfeit check fraud. Victims were sent checks with mystery shopper and personal assistant instructions. The checks, which were counterfeit, would bounce after the victims transmited  proceeds to various locations in the United States which were then layered for transmission to Nigeria.

Victims then owed their banks the amount of checks and often hundreds of dollars in bank fees


December 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Online fraud: Top Nigerian scammer arrested

A Nigerian behind thousands of online scams around the world has been arrested in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt, Interpol alleges.

The 40-year-old man, known only as “Mike” is alleged to head a network of 40 individuals behind global scams worth more than $60m (£45m).

His operations involved using malware to take over systems to compromise emails, as well as romance scams.

Nigeria’s anti-fraud agency was also involved in the arrest.

Africa Live: More on this and other stories

“In one case, a target was conned into paying out $15.4 m (£11m),” Interpol said in a statement.

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Beware of Scammers Lurking Online

Alivia Briggs thought she found the perfect dress to wear to the prom last spring and wasted no time ordering it from a website recommended by a friend. But when she received the dress, it barely resembled the pink mermaid gown with detailed silver beading that she had seen in the photos.

“The appliques on it looked kind of like these doilies, maybe the kind that you see on your grandma’s nightstand,” says the 18-year-senior at Austin High School in Decatur, Ala. “They were like these iron on doilies and these little beads like from the craft store. It looked like something I definitely could have made myself.”

Electronics, Headphones and Sneakers

Briggs is among the growing number of teens who have been targeted by online scams involving shopping, dating, scholarships, employment, anti-virus software, tax refunds and identity theft, among other schemes.

Last year teens lost $8.1 million to online scams, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “2015 Internet Crime Report.” Overall, Americans lost $1.07 billion to internet scams, but the FBI estimates that only 15% of cases of internet fraud are ever reported.

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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