Using social media and dating site profiles for background information, the con artists get close to their marks online through discussing hobbies and pursuits they supposedly have in common.Special Agent Christine Beining (pictured), a veteran financial fraud investigator in the FBI’s Tampa, Fla., division, has seen a substantial increase in the number of romance scam cases.Crying out from near the top of the FBI’s cybercrime report last week was a heartbreaking statistic.The second-costliest category of crime, behind only compromised business email, was confidence and romance fraud, with a 2018 cost of 3 million. The FBI cases read like the ultimate cautionary tales about not falling for smooth-talkers.
Their supposed princes are often criminals who are computer literate and educated.Instead of the usual scumbag that will trick online marks to send money for airline tickets, college tuition, bail money, etc.- these new breed of honey-pot con artists are convincing their matches to open bank accounts in their name in order to facilitate illegal money transfers and other financial chicanery."These people are hiding their identities, and trying to prove it wasn’t a gift is difficult. It’s almost like the perfect crime."Here are tips experts offer to stay safe online: 1.