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"I wonder how many people lose a thousand, lose two thousand, and not report it," he said. She then received a letter and a ,500 check from a woman across the country who asked her to send the money to him. Because he had no fear of being prosecuted, the man continued to ask the woman for money even after he knew she had gone to law enforcement.
This spring, another female resident said she began e-mailing a man she met through an online dating service. He told her he was an American citizen working in Nigeria. When she tried to wire the money, the company stopped her from sending it, Dirsa said. The woman who sent the money cross-country got her ,500 back, Dirsa said.
Internet scams are very prevalent, said Gail Marcinkiewicz, a Boston spokeswoman for the FBI. "It also happens with off-line relationships," she said, "(The person says) let me invest your money.' So many people give away money they should be careful about." Internet complaints are sent to the National White Collar Crime Center in Richmond, Va., which works with the FBI, Marcinkiewicz said. Cases may not meet prosecution guidelines unless investigators see a pattern, Marcinkiewicz said.
"After establishing relationships, perpetrators of the romance scams allegedly requested money, typically for investment or need-based reasons, and provided account information and directions for where money should be sent.
Miskell is in charge of an FBI Cyber Crime squad in Birmingham, Ala., and has worked extensively with Nigerian authorities to combat reshipping schemes.
This is when online thieves purchase items with stolen credit cards and have them sent to an innocent party to be shipped out of the country. embassy in Accra, Ghana, reports receiving up to 15 calls a week from Americans who have lost money on relationship scams originating in Ghana, Desilets said.
The Hampton Falls Police Department is investigating two cases of online fraud.
The local women were duped out of thousands of dollars they'll likely never recover, Police Chief Robbie Dirsa said.