Internet fraudsters are logging into social networking accounts and contacting users’ friends, pretending they are in trouble and asking for money. [4 August 2010]
The US Embassy in London has been receiving enquiries every day from people who have been defrauded for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars by internet contacts they believed were their friends or loved ones.
Types of scams
People are falling victim to scams including romance scams, bogus inheritance notices, fake foreign lottery wins and fraudulent work permits or job offers, as well as scams making victims believe they are helping a friend in trouble.
One version of this scam is when fraudsters obtain a person’s login information for a social networking website, change their profile to make it seem like they’re in trouble and contact the person’s friends via the social networking site to ask for money urgently.
The US Embassy in London has also become aware of adoption scams, where fraudsters claim to be parents unable to care for a child, or members of the clergy working at an orphanage seeking a good home for a child. Victims are asked to send money to proceed with the bogus adoption.
Recently, fraud recovery fraud has been occurring after some victims discover they have been defrauded, where they are emailed from fraudsters pretending to be from a police agency, offering to recover the money lost. The bogus policemen ask for an upfront ‘refundable’ fee to open the investigation or court files.
Don’t fall victim to a scam
The US Embassy in London is offering some advice for people to protect themselves against these scams:
If you are a UK resident who has been a victim of a scam like these, you can report it to Action Fraud.
Read more on the US Embassy in London’s website.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.