FBI Issues Scam Alert For Romance and Intimidation in SW Michigan
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a couple of scam warnings for West Michigan. Specifically, one is for government impersonators, and the other is for romance scammers. This warning is based on this criminal activitiy already happening here.
For the former, what's most worrisome is that there are multiple forms of impersonation, and all involve intimidation. The FBI has provided a short guide with the current warning:
How to Identify a Government Impersonator:
• The caller typically advises the recipient of the call that charges have been, or soon will be, filed against them, and threatens to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze their bank accounts, or have them arrested unless payment is made immediately.
• If the recipient questions the caller, the caller becomes more aggressive.
• The recipients are advised that it will cost thousands of dollars in fees or court costs to resolve the matter, and the caller typically instructs people to wire ‘settlement’ money or provide payment via prepaid cards or gift cards to avoid arrest.
The important thing the FBI emphasizes is, always remember, law enforcement agencies DO NOT call or email individuals threatening them or demanding that they send money. What makes this seem real is the scammers hack caller ID information that appears on your phone, making it seem authentic. The FBI says you should hang up immediately and either call the agency that the scammer is claiming to represent, or call the cops.
Here's how the Romance Scammers Operate:
In the romance scams, the crooks prey on people who are lonely and vulnerable. The criminals adopt a fake online identity to gain the victim’s affection and trust with the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. The FBI says "the criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. Unfortunately, con artists are present on most dating and social media sites."
The best thing you can do, and it's difficult these days, with everyone wanting to share everything on social media, but if you're lonely and thinking about using a dating site, whatever you do, don't post any personal information. And if you have old stuff, try and go back and delete it, before you try any online dating. But not sharing any personal information is good advice for everyone.