A couple from Laurel, Maryland, and a man from Dumfries, Virginia have both been found guilty of running a $3 million romance fraud scheme. David and Lesley Annor were arrested in November and accused of using false online identities to con more than 200 victims out of millions of dollars. Both pleaded not guilty. The Annors are now in custody awaiting trial. This article will provide some important information about how to avoid becoming a victim of this scam.
This scam involves fake profiles set up on popular dating websites, where the scammers pretend to be United States military personnel. The victim is asked to wire funds to their accounts for various untrue purposes. These include loans, travel expenses, and medical expenses. Once the victim sends the money, she is instructed to wire it into different accounts controlled by the con artist. The fraudster then withdraws the money in cash and uses some of the proceeds for his own benefit.
Most romance scams are run from countries such as Russia/Ukraine and West Africa. The people who run these scams are often highly sophisticated and use call-center software to communicate with victims. The people who run these scams are paid by the hour and work shifts. They follow scripts to avoid detection. Often, the romance scammers target older people with significant amounts of wealth. They also use dating sites to attract victims.