ONLINE DATING SCAM - THE LOVE TRAP OF THE 21ST CENTURY
The internet has opened endless possibilities for everyone. One of which is online dating.
Although many people frown upon the idea of it, online dating has made it possible for many people to connect with minimal effort. This, however, also brought up a new problem.
Cybercriminals know very well about what people want the most: romance. This gave them the opportunity to lay out traps for lonely people, leading to hundreds of online dating scams every day where anyone can become a victim anywhere.
Our client, Eugene (alias) was a US serviceman. He was young and full of life, and his family was very proud of him.
Even though he was a confident and charming man, he did not have the best luck in the dating scene. He started feeling lonely. And that loneliness kept growing until it became unbearable.
Hoping to find some appreciation, he did what most modern men do. He picked up his phone and downloaded an international dating app. And within a few weeks, it was a match, even though it was halfway across the world.
Eugene met a great English-speaking Filipino girl. His subtle flirtations were not lost on her. However, she wasn’t sure about an American man, and she was genuinely shy.
But he took it as a challenge to win her heart. He wanted to prove to her that she could find happiness in an American man. So he decided to keep the spark, hoping that things will turn into a roaring fire.
It worked, and it all happened over the internet. One night, out of passion and confidence he sent some photos to his muse to enjoy. Maybe the intention was to show what her love did to him. However, things didn’t go as he’d thought they would.
Things took a sour turn when questions about money started to come up. It was obvious that something foul was afoot. It was a clear-cut case of online blackmailing and he had just become a victim of an online dating scam.
The girl asked for money, set a deadline, and hung a threat over his head, to expose his behavior to the authorities in her home and stateside.
He was shocked at first, all of it came as an unpleasant surprise, so much so that he pleaded, he would have been on his knees if he could. But it changed nothing.
It wasn’t love. Well, not for him at least, it was for his money. And the threats were very real. And with a broken heart, he finally complied. He sent her $1500 and thought that was the end of it.
It would’ve been if it was in a fair world, but there is no such thing. The threats stopped for a while just to strike back again. Aggressive “requests” started to come demanding more money, with similar sounding threats.
Eugene figured that there was no other option left for him but to take some action. He couldn’t go to the authorities, that would just defeat the purpose.
Eugene came to us
We listened to Eugene’s story and we knew exactly what he’d been going through. This wasn’t anything new to us. Thousands of people fall victim to incidents like online dating scams or online blackmail almost every day.
We assured Eugene that we will take care of the situation with the promise that those pictures will be deleted as well. Then we jumped into the investigation.
Using OSINT, we found out about her social handles and whereabouts. We left a trap in the mail that led us to her IP address. Within a week we found out where she lived and what kind of tech she was using the run her online dating scam operations.
It was all downhill for her after that.
We notified the Filipino authorities of the situation in detail. They were very helpful. She was apprehended and charged accordingly. The photos were removed for good and we reported back to Eugene with proof that he was in the clear.
Eugene has remained a part of the TechForing family ever since. In the later years, we helped him with more cybersecurity services.
Learn more about our Personal Cyber Security Services here.
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