At Social Catfish, we interview a woman named Tawnya from West Virginia. She has been dating a man online who claims his name is Nicholas Coomer. Tawnya and Nicholas met on the dating app Tinder. Unlike some of our other episode’s Nicholas isn’t asking Tawnya for money, he is actually sending it to her. We investigated the identity of the man to figure out if he is a romance scammer and reached out to Tawnya about what we have found.
How Did Tawnya Meet Her Romance Scammer?
As she was swiping through Tinder, she came across a man named Nicholas Coomer. Nicholas sent her the first message and since that day, they have been talking every day. Tawnya quickly fell for him and his sweet words as they talk about music and watch movies together. His favorite artist was Justin Bieber and she loved country music. He messages her every day telling her “good morning” and asks her how work is going, and messages her all day and night.
However, Tawnya’s daughter, Matti, quickly became suspicious of him and their relationship. Tawnya has never heard Nicholas’ voice. She didn’t think it was right that he couldn’t FaceTime or call Tawnya and was always coming up with excuses. Tawnya kept telling her it was because his phone was broken, but Matti never fell for it. She also can’t find him on social media or the business that he claims he owns, which she also finds suspicious.
Nicholas hasn’t been asking Tawnya for money. Instead, he is sending money to her and asking her to convert it into Bitcoin. While Tawnya thought she was helping him get his construction equipment, she is actually unknowingly helping him with money laundering.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the illegal transferring of money through bank accounts or commercial transactions with the purpose of hiding said funds. The reason why they call it “laundering” is because the process is used to clean the money through another account before transferring it to the final account of the thief.
As of 1986, Money laundering is a federal crime in America and you can go to jail for it. However, scammers use it all the time as they use their sneaky and devious ways to get their hands on victims’ funds. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2-5% of global GDP, or $800 billion – $2 trillion in current United States dollars.
What is the Future of Money Laundering?
Digital currencies are the future of money laundering. In 2009, Bitcoin was introduced which is a digital currency that is essentially untraced. Romance scammers have turned to Bitcoin or gift cards when scamming money out of victims.
Lately, our inboxes have been flooded with people who claim their scammers haven’t been asking for money. Instead, scammers are sending their money to them, which could cause a lot of confusion. The scammers then ask them to turn this money into gift cards and Bitcoin before sending it back to them. This is a form of money laundering and it is illegal.
Social Catfish Investigates the True Identity of the Romance Scammer
We looked for him in New Mexico, where he claimed he was, and we also looked for his business out there, and couldn’t find anything. However, when we ran a reverse image search, we found the real man in the photos.
We found his Instagram that confirmed his name was actually Louie who is a gay man living life. We also found that there was nothing on his Instagram that verified the identity of Nicholas Croomer.
Tawnya figured that something was up and was not shocked to hear this news. She figured that in this day and age, no matter how messed up someone’s phone is, they can still call or video chat with someone.
At first, Tawnya didn’t think she was money laundering since it wasn’t a huge amount of money. Matti’s best friend went through something similar and thought it could’ve been drug money. However, Linnie did confirm that no matter how small the money amount is, it is still considered a form of money laundering.
Since the romance scammer has Tawnya’s bank account number, Linnie suggested that Tawnya should go to her bank and file a suspicious activity report. She knows that banks don’t like fraud and will do anything to protect their depositors. Since it was a direct deposit, the bank can trace the deposit back to the fraudulent bank account to shut it down. Banks will also have information and tips to help Tawnya through this situation.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
If you think you’re dealing with a scammer or have had your pictures stolen, Social Catfish is here to help you!
If you want to be a part of our next YouTube video or blog post and share your story, now is your chance. You can educate our audience about what you have gone through and make sure no one else goes through the same thing. All you need to do is email ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com, and we will get back to you with more details.
You can also reverse search any information you have on the Nigerian romance scammer to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image you can search it up in our search bar to see if there is more information on the suspected scammer you are talking to.