A new type of scam, online romantic relationships with disastrous endings

English Section / 12 decembrie 2023

A new type of scam, online romantic relationships with disastrous endings

Versiunea în limba română

Romantic relationships are not what they used to be. The online environment is full of traps in this area. The Romanian Police warns that a new type of scam is claiming more and more victims. The method is called "romance fraud" - suspects lure victims into online romantic relationships and claim to be doctors in war zones. Later, they request financial benefits or sensitive information. "The Romanian Police draws attention to a new type of fraud that is becoming increasingly widespread, called Romance Fraud. This is a manipulative tactic in which the perpetrators gain the trust of victims through online romantic relationships to obtain financial benefits or confidential information (personal data, financial data, banking data, etc.)," said representatives of the Romanian Police. According to them, cybercrimes have seen an increase in the last decade, and advanced technologies have provided criminals with new ways to achieve their goals. "Romance Fraud has its roots in building a false romantic relationship and gaining the affection of the victim with the intention of exploiting them financially or obtaining personal information. In the context of current armed conflicts, victims are approached by perpetrators pretending to be doctors in war zones," experts from the Romanian Police stated.

According to them, suspects use various pretexts ranging from the need to leave the war zone for urgent medical reasons to illusory promises of sending large sums of money to victims. The institution announces that, both at the European level and in our country, a series of incidents with this modus operandi have been recorded, and for better prevention, citizens need to protect themselves online.

Police offer a series of recommendations: 1. Verify the identity of people they contact online by requesting additional information about them or checking profile information (depending on the method of contact). 2. Keep personal data safe - Do not disclose personal data, bank, or financial data to any unknown person. It is necessary to protect personal data by using strong passwords, updating them regularly, implementing two-step authentication, and avoiding sharing financial information or other sensitive data with unknown or not solidly known individuals. 3. Approach requests for urgent money with skepticism, continuous excuses for not meeting face-to-face, and discrepancies in the information provided, which may raise suspicions. 4. Report suspicious incidents to judicial authorities and use online reporting platforms to help identify criminals. In case of doubts about the authenticity of a person online, encourage reporting their activity to the respective platform. 5. Use online socializing platforms cautiously, especially dating platforms: It is recommended that all citizens be cautious in using online socializing or dating platforms and avoid disclosing personal information too early in a relationship. 6. Stay informed about the latest modus operandi for committing crimes online, as well as implementing prevention and counteraction measures. Citizens need to know how to identify potential online scams and react appropriately to suspicious requests.

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