Kaufbeuren – A 56-year-old man from Ostallgäu has become a victim of a so-called “romance or love fraud”. With fake love, fraudsters got several thousand euros from him.
Early in June, a 56-year-old man from Kaufbeurer received a contact request from a woman online. Over time, this evolved into an intense conversation via social messages. In the course of the conversation, the woman managed to gain the trust of the man. Finally, the 56-year-old told that she supposedly deserved the inheritance. But she can only do this after her marriage.
Shortly thereafter, an alleged lawyer contacted the 56-year-old and sent him a marriage certificate. For this marriage certificate, the man finally transferred the fee to various German accounts several times. Before becoming suspicious, the 56-year-old incurred a financial loss of €15,000. The Kaufbeuren Criminal Police is now investigating under the supervision of the Kempten Prosecutor’s Office on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.
“Love Trick” – Fake Love Online
This phenomenon is known to police as “love fraud” and has been a source of concern to investigators for the past decade in particular. After that, the wave faded and was replaced by the latest tricks such as “fake police officer”. Meanwhile, the story of spurious love affairs returns.
Those ingested are overwhelmed with declarations of love and attention. Over time, emotional dependence or relationship with unknown love develops. Then suddenly, an emergency or a supposed financial hardship enters the life of a new love. Only then the victim can help – with money.
How often are such cases reported?
In the area of police headquarters in South / West Swabia, more than 40 cases were reported in 2021, in Ostalgoy County, the police recorded a total of 7 cases. In most cases, the victims suffered significant financial damage. In 2021, the perpetrators stole more than 600,000 euros via the Presidency alone, and this year love scammers have already stolen more than 400,000 euros.
In the case of “love fraud”, the police expect a very large number of unreported cases. Because of the intimate details of the report, victims often do not dare to report it to the police. There are many scammers on the internet in particular who are making a lot of money out of the goodwill of their fellow human beings. Scammers try to undermine the cause of their victims through the emotional world. In addition to affection, this also includes unusually high promises of profit in financial transactions or unusually cheap offers of the desired goods.
It’s easy to check your acquaintances online
Enter your name or the name of your acquaintances on the Internet with the addition of “cheater” on Google, for example. In many cases, the search engine can confirm the suspicion. If an image is sent to you, you can use a reverse image search to get additional information about the image.
It also makes sense to use an alternate email address for exchanging contacts online or for digital correspondence with a stranger. This way you can avoid having to delete your main mail account in case of fraud.
What do I do if I have been deceived?
Ignore: Don’t respond to the scammer’s requests. Under no circumstances should you transfer money. Also, don’t cash any checks or forward letters and parcels – don’t keep them either. Make reverse payments immediately, if still possible.
Backup: Save all emails and chat texts as evidence to a storage medium such as your favorite cloud service, external hard drive, USB drive, or CD. Keep bank transfer receipts. If you cannot do it yourself, ask your computer-savvy acquaintances and friends to read the so-called email address for you. This tells you where the mail was sent from. Self-help websites also explain how you can protect yourself from greater harm.
If you are still not sure, contact your nearest police station. There you will find what you need to do specifically to be able to secure all evidence.
Getting help: file a police report. Criminal prosecution of such perpetrators is difficult because they act from the outside. However, you should definitely report the incident. This is especially important, for example, when banks want to take legal action against victims who inadvertently submitted forged checks. The police will not only help you get evidence of the fraud, but also prevent the perpetrator(s) constantly.
Ban: Cut off all contacts. Don’t answer emails or phone calls from a scammer. It’s best to get a new email address and phone number. There is also a danger to friends in the social network and all the contacts in your email address book. Because the perpetrators usually also send computer viruses with their emails. This erases the data in the email address book and otherwise allows control of the victim’s computer.