Imagine this: You’re on a dating site, and you think you’ve found the love of your life. Only to discover you’ve been scammed out of €1.7 million. Sounds impossible? Think again.
The Utrecht Case: When Love Turns to Fraud
A family in Utrecht, Netherlands, faces up to six years in jail1 for scamming and extorting a vulnerable man they met on a dating site. The Public Prosecution Service claims that each family member played a role in this elaborate fraud, which means that it was all planned right?! The alleged victim, an autistic man, was swindled out of €1.7 million through a combination of deceit and force.
The victim first encountered the family when he started talking to a woman named Kristina on a dating site in July 2019, this is before COVID. He was led to believe that he would marry her. It started with small loans but soon escalated. The victim paid for a wedding, a house, and even bailed out his so-called loved one from a pimp— all of which were fabrications to steal his money. Yes, the stories the cybercriminals crafted were lucrative.
When the victim became hesitant, the scam escalated to extortion, accompanied by increasing violence and intimidation. He was even choked, scratched, and threatened with an axe.
According to the report, the victim was left traumatized and without money in Spain, amid the COVID-19 lockdown. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of this traumatic experience.
1,2,3,4 Protect Yourself from Dating Scams
|What to Look Out For||What to Do|
|Unusual Money Requests||Never send money|
|Too Good to Be True||Verify the person’s identity|
|Pressure and Manipulation||Block and report the user|
|Violent or Threatening Behavior||Inform authorities|
Your cybersecurity doesn’t stop at installing antivirus software. Its ongoing task is to keep you safe from all forms of malicious activities, including scams and extortion schemes you might encounter online. Believe it or not, a robust cybersecurity system can even protect you from yourself when your judgment is clouded by emotions.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to be a target. Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they’re targeting everyone.
- https://www.om.nl/actueel/nieuws/2023/09/19/tot-6-jaar-cel-geeist-voor-datingfraude-en-afpersing-voor-17-miljoen-euro ↩︎