The North Bay Police Service is currently investigating a report of an individual who lost thousands of dollars through a scam that was initiated through the social networking website, Facebook.
The fraudster contacted the victim with a friend request. Lured in by the fraudster’s convincing profile and photographs, the victim believed the fraudster’s claim that he was a U.S. Military doctor serving in Iraq and accepted his request to be friends. Facebook chats and email correspondence between the two followed.
Then, the suspect asked the victim to assist him in getting a parcel out of Iraq. The victim agreed to receive his parcel in exchange for a large sum of cash as compensation.
The victim then received numerous emails over several months from others professing to be courier companies, customs agents and diplomats. Each of these individuals claimed there was some sort of delay or problem with the delivery, and requested funds to rectify the problem. The funds were said to be required for certificates, customs clearance, storage fees, and other fabricated events.
The victim sent several payments before he discovered that it was a scam.
How to avoid falling victim to online scams
- Be aware that it’s very easy for fraudsters to write a fake profile and copy photographs of others from the Internet to make their profile appear real.
- Be suspicious of people you have never met who try to add you as a Facebook friend. Visit the help page How do I avoid scams on Facebook? to learn more.
- Be suspicious of individuals who you’ve only met through the Internet if they ask for any sort of financial assistance or offer a compensation.
- Never send money, personal information, or credit card or banking information to anyone you have never met for any reason.
- Know that fraudsters will often ask victims to send money using a third-party transfer service because it’s more difficult to reverse or trace these payments and it offers the fraudster more anonymity compared to bank transfers. NEVER use third-party money transfer services to send money to someone you’ve never met in person and do not know and trust.
- Know that there are several scams, including romance scams, that involve fraudsters who claim to be members of the U.S. Military. For more information, visit the U.S. Military’s scam alert page online at: http://www.cid.army.mil/romancescam.html
- Poor English grammar and spelling and unusal sentence structure may be signs of writers who are not who they claim to be.
Are you a victim of online fraud?
If you’re a victim of online fraud who has sent funds, contact your bank immediately and report the incident to the North Bay Police Service at 705-497-5555.