Romance Scam Ends In 4 1/2 Years Behind Bars
None of us are strangers to the random phone calls and emails of someone trying to scam money out of
None of us are strangers to the random phone calls and emails of someone trying to scam money out of us. Another one is online dating romance scams. Although these aren’t as common for people to get tangled up in, it’s not unheard of. Scammers in general typically go after a vulnerable crowd and, in this situation, it was older folks on the search for a relationship. Recently, a man was sentenced to be behind bars for 4 1/2 years after being caught stealing millions of dollars from people from 2016 to 2020.
Have you ever imagined this happening to you?
The “Art” Of Catfishing
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The type of art that makes your blood boil. Successful catfishing is done by people who are professional scammers. Typically, they create fake online profiles with the intention to attract their next victim(s). They will use someone else’s photos, (working professionals, medical staff, or military personnel) that appears trustworthy and attach a fake name. It all begins with an online dating site and quickly gravitates toward social media, email, and sometimes even phone calls.
These romance scammers tend to rush into the relationship and express intense emotions early on. They’ll jump through hoops to keep your interest in them and build your trust. They will shower you with loving words and get personal with you as well to lead you to believe that they are also trusting you.
Once emotions are high, trust exists, and your defenses are down, the real romance scam begins – they ask you for money. Either subtly or directly your catfish lover will ask for money. Often times they will pretend that they need it for a personal emergency such as an injury or a sick family member. Or, they will lead you to believe that they want to fly and visit you but cannot afford it. And, you obviously know what this leads to… They will ask you to lend them money to cover their trip.
Regardless of how the scammer goes about it, you are at risk of losing a lot of money as well as feeling emotional betrayal by someone who you thought loved you.
Don’t Be The Victim OR The Criminal In A Romance Scam
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For some, this lifestyle could sound enticing. Sort of like an easy side hustle. But, don’t think it’s as easy as getting online and creating a fake profile to ask people for money with. As we mentioned, people who do this as serious money are professionals in scamming and still get caught. For example, a man by the name of Kofi Osei, 30, has just been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in jail for his online romance scams from 2016 to 2020.
Osei has been convicted of helping steal millions of dollars from hundreds of people in online romance scams. Allegedly he has accomplices by his side all seeking out mostly older people who were looking for companionship. The federal prosecutor shared in a statement on Tuesday that the criminals created fake online profiles to go about their scheming.
The massive online romance scam stole more than $8 million. And, $4 million went to Osei directly in an account that he opened and controlled, according to the prosecutor.
Osei and his accomplices went about their scheme the tried and true way of gradually gaining the trust of their victims before instructing them on how how to transfer money to one of their dozens of bank accounts that Osei opened himself under fake aliases, fake documentation, and so-called business names, as per the prosecutor.
One victim was scammed out of $200,000. Another had $65,000 stolen from them.
In February 2021 Osei was arrested, and in September he pleaded guilty to making also statements to a bank, money laundering, and wire fraud. And, along with doing jail time, he has been ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution and forfeiture.