We interviewed a Nigerian scammer who specializes in romance scams: Nigerian Scammer Interview Learn the crazy methods he uses to lure his victims and the reasons why he's invo… Read More
As we are still staying at home as much as possible due to the coronavirus pandemic and following our state’s social distancing laws, we often wonder how we can entertain ourselves when we are bored. We think that social media might do the trick, but then realize you’ve seen every single post you have scrolled through since the day began. You can binge-watch the latest shows on your video streaming platform… if you haven’t already binge-watched everything that was on it already. Your mind starts to wander until you realize you haven’t checked out the dating scene in a while. You are a little lonely since you aren’t quarantining with anyone and haven’t really interacted with many human beings since the coronavirus started. You download a dating app and begin swiping left or right, but don’t realize the amount of catfish you just potentially swiped right to. This is why Nigerian romance scams have gone up during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the FTC, $201 million dollars was lost due to romance scams in 2019, which was a 40% increase from $143 million in 2018. This was the number one most-costly type of scam in America. The chart below shows which states have the most romance scam victims according to the most recent FBI IC3 data.
The above state-level data shows romance scams were a huge problem before the pandemic, and studies now show the problem will be exponentially worse in 2020.
According to eMarketer, the percentage of dating apps downloaded in 2019 compared to now will have increased by 18.4% with a predicted 26.6 million users. According to Statista, 31% of the people who took the survey have said that they have used dating apps somewhat more now than before the quarantine.
When you consider the increase of dating app users from 2019 to 2020, the $201 million victims lost in 2019 is unfortunately projected to skyrocket in 2020 as the pandemic continues to soar.
The Better Business Bureau saw a 35% to 40% increase in online scams to the PlainsCapital Bank fraud manager’s customers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. If this was reported at just one bank, imagine how many more financial institutions are seeing an increase in romance scams since COVID-19 began.
When a Nigerian romance scammer is trying to get to know you, they are also trying to get to know several other people as well. Because of this, it’s hard to keep track of the numerous conversations being had all at once as they deploy their Nigerian romance scams. To solve this issue, these romance scammers have created what is called a playbook to copy and paste from, so they don’t have to come up with the sweet things they say to you on their own. Instead, they can copy and paste a conversation starter or a sweet message that will sweep you off your feet and allow you to trust them.
To be able to tell if someone is using the romance scammer’s playbook on you, pay attention to the messages they send you. Are they overly sweet? Do they make you blush and your heart race? Are they simple little phrases that ask you about your day? Do they have a bunch of grammatical errors? If you answered yes to all of these, chances are the person you are talking to is a romance scammer copying and pasting the messages he is supposed to.
In this heartbreaking story, we talked to Betty Jean who was going through a rough time after being scammed. She asked her friends and family for money and had sold her car and house to pay the romance scammer, thinking that it was true love and that he would buy her a nicer car and house. However, after she lost everything she started to realize that he was most likely a Nigerian romance scammer.
For the last 3-4 months, she keeps trying to tell him how she knows he’s a romance scammer but denies it every single time, saying he still loves her. Because she sold her house to give the scammer money, she currently lives in a tent. She became super depressed because of this situation and has even tried to overdose. The doctors had to prescribe her anti-depressant medication.
She met someone else online and has been able to video chat with him on a daily basis. She has told him about her past with being scammed, and he reassures her he would never do that to her. He has not asked for money yet, and she doesn’t think he ever will.
If you have any bit of their information, Social Catfish can help you figure out the true identity of the scammer if you think you have been a victim of Nigerian romance scams. You can use our reverse search toolbar to figure out who you are really talking to if you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image. This will allow you to be able to tell if you are talking to a real person or if it’s just another romance scammer.
Also, if you have a similar story to Betty Jean and have been a victim of Nigerian romance scams, we would love to hear from you! You can share your story with us at ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com for a chance to be featured in our future YouTube video or blog post. This will give you the opportunity to educate our audience on the experiences you faced so that no one else will ever have to go through the pain of being scammed.