When you hear romance scams being brought up in a discussion, the imagery that usually pops into your head would be about a witty Naija or other African youth trying to make money from some Caucasian while pretending to be in love with them. In fact, with that ‘traditional’ sort of scam, it can be a male pretending to be a woman attracted to some ‘loaded’ American or anyone from the developed countries.
Okay, it looks something like that, however, it is far from the truth. While that format still exists and has become more sophisticated with different forms of catfishing tactics getting incorporated into the scheme, romance scams can be a lot more shallow than that… so shallow you don’t give them the acknowledgment they truly deserve.
In this article we’ll learn more about romance scams and how connected they are to Mobile Money fraud.

The many faces of romance scams

Fellas, remember the time you sent that girl transportation money to come visit you and she’s been having a mysterious headache ever since? Yes? You got scammed, but since the amount involved was not so significant, you disregarded it… but the truth remains that you’ve been romantically scammed.
Romance scams are given that name because they are based on the perpetrator taking advantage of the love or romantic feelings the victim has towards them; in order to fleece them out of money.
A couple of days ago we woke up to news of a young love-struck woman who was conned into taking a bank loan to help her boyfriend (who by the way happens to be heavily married). The gentleman involved told her he was a divorcee. That made her lower her defences and she’s now in debt; both romantically and financially.

Why scammers prefer Mobile Money transfers

The thing about romance scams, and scams in general, is that the perpetrator needs a quick method of receiving their funds, so, what happens next? Your guess is as good as mine if Mobile Money transfer is the first thing that came to your mind.
One of the reasons Mobile Money fraud exists is because unlike banks, MoMo agents do not have CCTV cameras keeping records of what happens within their stalls. So you walk to an agent in Dansoman (DC), cash out your money, and leave for your home in Teshie. You can’t be recognized by anyone in DC; in case they want to locate the tall lady in a pink jacket. It’s very convenient. That is why lots of these fraudsters prefer having the booty transferred to them via Mobile Money.

How to avoid being a victim

Romance scams as noted earlier come in many forms. Aside the regular “money to sort out important things” variation, there are other ways anyone can be scammed romantically and it is for this reason that you need to be vigilant.

Trust, but verify

Okay, with this you can’t be too careful. Strong relationships are built on trust. Now, if you ask them questions as to why they want you to invest in any project and they respond with anger or emotional manipulation then, you need to be extra careful. Your partner may not be all they’ve been portraying themselves to be.

Give sparingly

Most victims lose large sums of money because they have an innate need to impress. It is alright for you to be kind and generous to people you feel affection towards. However, don’t ‘strain‘ yourself by going above your capability for them. Don’t take loans to help people you have no legal obligations toward. People can switch up on you unexpectedly so thread with caution. This is the way of common sense.

Be wary of outrageous demands

Inasmuch as you’d want to make an impression on the person you’re dating or attempting to court, you must be wary when they start making outrageous demands. People with ulterior motives would want to profit as soon as possible in order to make a quick getaway so, when you’re dealing with a romantic prospect who’s all about what they can benefit from you then, you have to be careful how much you spend on them.

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This article on romance scams using Mobile Money is part of a series JBKlutse.com is developing to educate the public about Mobile Money fraudsters, their activities, and how to stay vigilant and not be a victim.
For stories of this sort and more, do well to log on to www.jbklutse.com or visit us on Facebook. To report a typo, email the editor: editor@jbklutse.com.

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