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With long-running romance scam tactics through dating websites already well-known, fraudsters have gone as far as impersonating US soldiers and then seeking lovers on social media, particularly Facebook.Invariably, victims who fall for impostors are asked to make “repeated and ever escalating payments,” US officials say.The defendants face charges ranging from money laundering to identity theft and will likely face “decades in federal prisons” if convicted.But that’s likely all the justice victims will ever get.And there are dozens of other fraud games being played out on Twitter and other platforms.I've been gathering anecdotal data from a number of such accounts as they've attempted to prepare me for a lure.As part of the scam, fraudsters learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for the payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies and then target businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments, Paul Delacourt, FBI assistant director in charge of the case said in a press briefing.
US law enforcement have recently received complaints of such scams in all 50 states in the US, authorities also say.
The high profile arrests have also triggered extreme reactions among Nigerians at home and abroad, many of whom daily experience the cost of national stereotyping that comes with the well-covered activity of online fraudsters, particularly with the wide spread of email scam attempts.
These costs range from increased scrutiny for visa processes, a lack of trust when attempting to do business internationally and being restricted from using international payment platforms.
Thousands of accounts involved in the ongoing campaign have been suspended.
But that has hardly put a dent in the efforts of scammers, who move on to set up new accounts and run new scams.