embassy in Accra, Ghana, reports receiving up to 15 calls a week from Americans who have lost money on relationship scams originating in Ghana....
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Dirsa described both victims as professional women scammed by expert salesmen.
One case began in January 2002, he said, after one woman met a man online through the Yahoo Personals.
This is when online thieves purchase items with stolen credit cards and have them sent to an innocent party to be shipped out of the country. embassy in Accra, Ghana, reports receiving up to 15 calls a week from Americans who have lost money on relationship scams originating in Ghana, Desilets said.
Miskell also investigates check or money-order fraud, when the suspect sends the victim a fraudulent check or money order to cash and then has the innocent party wire him or her the money before the bank discovers the instrument was fraudulent. There are also official warnings from the State Department with regard to dating scams originating from the Ukraine.
The local women were duped out of thousands of dollars they'll likely never recover, Police Chief Robbie Dirsa said.
It could happen to anyone, said Dirsa, whose officer, Jeremy Tetreault, spoke at an identity theft seminar in Hampton this past Thursday.
She loaned him, over the course of more than a year, 9,000 for his alleged trucking business, Dirsa said.
The couple had a few dates, Dirsa said, though police are investigating whether the man she dated is the same person she met online or someone sent to get the money.
Christian Desilets, a resource attorney with the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), responded to an e-mail request for information.
To his knowledge, he said, the exact dimensions of Internet dating fraud have not been measured with any degree of certainty.
In the case of the first woman, he said, the man may have given her a false identity, which would help in prosecuting him criminally.