Thursday, 6 March 2014

Internet Love Scams

Soaring numbers of Singaporean women fall prey to web love scams

Number of people robbed by online con artists faking romantic interest before tricking people out of money jumped 62% between 2012 and 2013

Soaring numbers of Singaporeans - mostly women - are falling victim to "Internet love scams" police said in a Valentine's Day warning that criminals are exploiting lonely hearts increasingly turning to the web to find partners.

The number of people robbed by online con artists faking romantic interest before tricking people out of money jumped 62 per cent between 2012 and 2013, police said in an annual crime briefing. Official figures also show e-commerce rackets doubled to 509 in 2013.
The total amount reported lost to such forms of fraud in 2013 was $6.01 million, police said, a steep rise from $1.20 million in 2012.

Police said the victims of the online love scams were mainly women searching for partners in social networks and on dating websites.
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$5.8m given to online Romeos

Last week, annual police statistics released indicated that Singapore’s overall crime rate hit a 30-year low last year.
But online cheating cases that include Internet love scams went up. Such scams first appeared in Singapore in 2008, with seven reported cases. There were 81 cases last year, up from 50 cases in 2012. Victims handed over $5.8 million, up from $1.18 million in 2012.
One 74-year-old victim lost $1 million after being duped into making a string of payments.
The women who fall for online cads

One woman, in her 60s, lost $700,000 to an online lover she has not met even once. Another, Madam Chan Siow Ping, 63, gave $850,000 to a foreigner who showered her with attention.
Both men have disappeared but the women still believe they will be back.
Psychologist Richard Lim says that loneliness is often the biggest vulnerability. And technology has made it even easier for scammers to chat up these older women and get them to open up their hearts and bank accounts.
Why women fall for cads
So psychologists have finally discovered why we women fall for cads. A new study suggests that we're quite willing to overlook a man's bad manners and surliness if he's a terrific flirt. So helpless do we become, such quivering wrecks do we turn into, that even the foulest of tempers will be forgiven if a man has an irresistible glint in his eye.
Well, I concede there is an element of truth to the research. After all, I have fallen for my share of bounders, and I admit that any man who is an accomplished flirt is likely to have a gaggle of women at his side in no time at all. Flirting is always a sign of confidence, and women love a man who is self-assured. Not long after I first came to England, I remember watching episodes of The Charmer, with the handsome, if dastardly, Nigel Havers charming the pants and the fortunes off bright and beautiful women.
I was extremely taken by him and the winsomeness which blinded all those girls to his flaws. His charm gave him carte blanche to behave badly to the fairer sex. The meaner he was, the keener they became. It was something I would experience time and again in my romantic life. My own experience of cads began long before I fell for Mr Havers.
Online sex predators know no boundaries
An Australian university lecturer's daughter was approached on Facebook by a man in England
The girl was then only eight years old and the stranger had asked her to remove her clothes, take nude pictures of herself and send the images to him. Fortunately she didn't.
Since the 2011 incident, Dr Allan Watt has tightened security settings on his children's social media accounts. He is also developing a digital system to secure the e-frontier.
He dupes me...He dupes me not?
Their mother has allegedly lost $700,000 to an online lover she has not met even once.
Mr Paul Yang and his three siblings are hoping that by sharing this story, their mother can finally be convinced to go to the police.

The engineer, 40, is also frustrated that neither he nor his siblings can get any more information from his mother, who is in her 60s. Mr Yang, who is the eldest, has two sisters and a brother. They are not married. Their father died of cancer about seven years ago.

He tells The New Paper on Sunday: "We just want to know what actually happened, but other than what our aunt has told us, my mother refuses to say anything much."

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'I want to prove I didn't fall for a conman'
A lonely heart makes an easy target, says a pyschologist. But one woman explains why she is holding on to love despite having lost her savings.
He was a foot reflexology therapist. Charming, attentive and caring, he showered attention on the lonely divorcee, who was feeling even more down after her only child got married. But her happiness was short-lived.
Six months later, Madam Chan Siow Ping is in debt and heartbroken. Not only has she lost all her savings of $850,000, she also owes relatives a total of $10,000.
'He seemed so sincere'
They met via Facebook and hit it off. He claimed to be a German man in his 50s, working in the US, and said he was a widower who wanted to find someone to care for his 10-year-old daughter.
Just two weeks into their relationship, he told Nora (not her real name) that he would travel to Singapore to ask for her hand in marriage. But on the day he was supposed to arrive, he failed to show up.
A woman later contacted her to tell her that he had been detained by the immigration department and she had to transfer $3,500 to a POSB bank account for him to be able to enter Singapore.
Webcam of deceit
THE WOMAN claimed to be a Singaporean living overseas when she first contacted William (not his real name) over social networking site Tagged last month.
After chatting over MSN and email, "Celine", who claimed to be in her 20s and living in Hong Kong, then suggested that they have cybersex.
However, it all turned ugly after being Celine threatened to send the video of William masturbating, which she had recorded earlier, to his friends if he didn't transfer $1,000 to a Western Union account.
Instant affairs
Like a predator cruising at a bar, he scans the profile pictures of various women and chats them up with a "Hi, how are you?" Small talk quickly leads to more intimate topics like sex. Within a week, he's arranged a date to meet for sex.
Anonymous, discreet and quick. That's what some Singaporean men seem to be engaged in thanks to Wechat, an increasingly popular messaging app.
It has even attracted serial womanisers like George*, 39, who claims he's used it to hook up with over 20 women over six months. Th e app, which has "friend-fi nding" functions similar to apps like Blendr and Skout, allows him to approach any woman who shows up on his screen. He meets up with women over Wechat about twice a week.
Pose & prey

Construction worker Mani Velmurugan posed as a Caucasian man on online live chat website Badoo and duped 17 women into giving him their personal details.
He called himself "Adam Mark" or "Mark Adam" and used an image of a Caucasian man as his profile picture.
The Indian national claimed that he came from either England or Canada and convinced most of the women into giving him their nude pictures.
An Indian National construction worker working in Singapore has been sentenced to jail for 2 years and 8 months after he was found guilty of blackmailing women to have sex with him using their nude photos that he had obtained by chatting with them using a fake photo of a sexy Caucasian man.
28 year old Mani Velmurugan had criminally intimidated 17 women between May and August 2013.
He had met the women through chatting website Badoo and used a sexy Caucasian man’s photo as his profile picture.
Man jailed for threatening to upload women’s nude photos
Pose & prey

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Bait and snitch

These girls claim to be 18 and looking for "kinky fun" with men in their online advertisements. When interested men call the numbers listed in the ads, no one picks up but the girls will later initiate SMS conversations, telling the callers they are only 15, but are still game for sex in exchange for money.
Those men who agree will end up getting threatened by the girls' angry "fathers" and a "police officer". The latter tells them they can be arrested for sexually grooming a minor unless they pay off the "fathers" not to make police reports.
This scam, which preys on men willing to break the law by having sex with underage girls, is spreading quickly on the Internet.

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'I was so angry when I saw my picture being used'

SHE knew the dangers of posting her pictures on Facebook and took precautions. But her picture ended being used by someone to advertise sexual services.
Last Tuesday, the 16-year-old, who wanted to be known only as Winnie, contacted The New Paper after reading our report on a sex scam.
She said that her mother had shown her the article after a picture of her wearing a Minnie Mouse headpiece hit the front page and has since made a police report.
Phone scam dupes victims into transferring money to pay for fines
A new phone scam has duped some members of the public into transferring money to pay for what they believed were fines.
One victim, Mr Ragavendaran, received a call telling him that he had filled in his birth date on his immigration card incorrectly.
The caller claimed to be from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and asked him to pay S$2,000 for reprocessing charges, threatening to deport him if he did not pay up.
Scammers use adult dating sites to con would-be adulterers
Adult dating sites have been in the spotlight recently and many have criticised them for promoting adultery
But it seems there is a bigger danger: Scammers are also targeting these sites to cheat men of money.
Last year, ‘Marsha’ contacted James (not his real name) through an adult dating website, offering him access into an exclusive sex club.
The sex parties, Marsha claimed, are held at a five-star hotel every month. All he had to do was to hand over his credit card details to pay for a one-time joining fee of $100.
Scammers targeting sellers in online marketplaces

Scamsters are now preying on those who post their valuables for sale at a top online marketplace in Malaysia.
A businessman, who wished to be known only as Tony, in his 30s, alleged that he nearly became a victim of the "advance fee" fraud after being told to refund a potential buyer via an online transaction.
"It started when I posted a branded wallet on the website for sale last week. Shortly after, I received an e-mail from a woman who wanted to buy it for her niece in Indonesia.
Scammers refine email attacks with social media
They use 'social engineering tactics' to conduct their recon and research their prey
The total volume of phishing emails worldwide has eased this year, but offenders are coming up with more advanced, target-oriented tricks that take advantage of popular social media services such as LinkedIn, a report by a U.S online security firm showed.
The report by Websense said that the proportion of phishing messages in the total email volume shrank to 0.5 per cent in 2013, from 1.12 per cent last year. But cyber criminals now tend to set specific targets rather than sending out a massive number of emails to unspecified recipients, the security firm said.
The cyber security firm said the criminals are using techniques that utilise social media platforms, known as "social engineering tactics."