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The Danger of Being Dragged into a Crime by your Avatar (Romance Scammer and Cyber Criminal)

By Bernard G. Vance, Dr.Ed and Erlina, M.Hum


Romance Scams Part 14

One of the most dangerous ploys that an Avatar (romance scammer) uses to further entrap their mark (victim) is to involve them in criminal activity, then use that to hold them hostage as part of their scheme. If the Scammers cannot get you to send money to them they will try to get you involved in their criminal activities and use you for to further their criminal activities. By getting you involved they accomplish at least two things.

1. Involve you in their criminal activities and thus ensnaring you deeper in their web of deceit, thus making you feel trapped and afraid of anyone finding out, thus isolating you from your support base and binding you to them.

2. Insolating them from being arrested and prosecuted as they have you as the lead point of contact in any criminal activity and they are in a country without extradition treaties and cannot beprosecuted.

Many times that is started with a very simple request, like setting up a profile for a friend using the credit card number and information sent to you by the Avatar (Scammer). You get on the computer and set up a dating site or other social network profile and pay for the service with the credit card, then send the information back to your friend so they can edit the profile information and start using the site.
No problem, as a good friend and lover you are willing to help your new man or lady in your life and support his or her friends, Right; Wrong, most likely what you just did was use a stolen credit card to purchase goods or services, and Yes, You were using it and it could be traced back to you and you would be prosecuted for credit Card Fraud.

I have seen many requests by scammers asking for the victim to set up a bank account, IRA, or Keyhole account, so they can send money or transfer money into it. By opening a bank account for them, they will funnel money scammed from other victims into that account with you managing it. That becomes “Receiving Stolen Goods” and "Money Laundering" which is A Federal Crime when “You” are caught, and they “The Scammers” are insulated as they did not open or manage the account and are in a different country, but you are here and the US Attorney General will file charges against you. The scammers will ask you to receive the Money “Stolen or Scammed” and place it in the account that you are managing for them and then have you transfer the money through a messaging and money transfer service such as Western Union. Also, most of the time they will have you keep a percentage for yourself, thus reinforcing your involvement in the crime as now you accepted stolen goods and are part of the criminal ring.
Also the account maybe be used to funnel bogus cashier checks and money orders, through until the bank finds out that they will not clear, then you will be asked to repay all the money and you can be prosecuted for passing counterfeit checks and money orders. The thing to remember that most banking is done through International agreements and the banks can handle any need for money transfer through the International Banking Systems, if you are asked to handle money for anyone that is overseas, it is most likely because that they are trying to avoid being caught transferring money and having to pay duty or taxes on it. If caught, “You” will be required to pay the taxes or duties not the scammer.

Just like the Puppy Scam that was posted on “Let’s Stop Romance Scammer on Facebook” an Facebook Anti-Scam Site, The Scammers had involved a victim of a “Romance Scam” to be the one who receives and collected the money (a mule) for the “Puppy Scam” as the middleman receiving the money and then sending it on to Nigeria. Now she will be the one that the State and Federal prosecutors will charge with the crime of theft and money laundering, not the Criminals and Romance Scammers.

Many times this scam involves having good purchased by the scammer delivered to the victim’s home, to be repackaged and reshipped. Almost all of these goods were bought by using a stolen credit card. By receiving and reshipping them, the victim is now again receiving and shipping stolen goods. When the local, state or federal law enforcement agencies finish their investigations, the romance scam victim could be charged with theft, receiving stolen goods, shipping stolen goods, and credit card fraud. Not only will the victim now have a criminal record but be they will required to pay restitution to the credit card companies and stores that the goods were stolen from, And Again the Criminal Romance Scammer Goes Free. As most likely the scammer (internet criminal) will have everything shipped to a third party and will never have his name (except as the name of the Avatar which is a fake name also) attached to any of the criminal activities as he is using others to do the dirty work.

A Romance Scam Victim that we have worked with was asked to buy chemicals by her Avatar, as she had some influence in her country and could get an export permit without any questions being asked. Now here is the problem, many of the chemicals needed in the drug trades or for weapons of mass destruction manufacturing (terrorism) are banned. But by buying small amounts of a restricted products or chemicals from different countries, these criminals (terrorist) can gather the components needed to make drugs and chemical or biological weapons. In this way they avoid being watched by the National Security Agencies or Interpol and at the same time drag their victim into the crimes of drug distribution or even terrorism. As always the scammer uses a middlemen to insulate themselves and the victim will be the one prosecuted if caught and will go to prison for the crime.

Here are a few of the scams that can make a victim a criminal and part of the criminal scheme of the scammer:

1. Counterfeit money orders and checks sent in the mail from the scammer to be deposited in the victim bank account and send back the cash by Western Union or Money Gram. This is money laundering, and is a Federal crime punishable with Jail time.

2. Asked to open a checking account to deposit checks for Scammer. This also is money laundering, and is a Federal crime punishable with Jail time.

3. The scammer send you blank checks sent in the mail for victim to fill out and send out to scammer “clients” which in reality are other victims. This is money laundering and a federal crime.

4. The scammer ships packages to victim home to have them remailed to scammer. These packages are goods and products bought with a stolen credit card numbers and now they need you to reship the packages to them. This is receiving and distributingstolen good and is a crime, you could be held fined and jailed if convicted.

5. The scammer sending counterfeit money through the mail to the victim. Handling counterfeit money is a federal crime, investigated by the Secret Service, and prosecuted as a federal crime.

6. The scammer has the victim send money to Canada or Mexico. This also is money laundering, and is a Federal crime punishable with Jail time.

7. Scammer sending a package filled with envelopes to victim to have the envelopes mailedto other victims. Checks or Money Orders are in the envelopes. This also is money laundering, and is a Federal crime punishable with Jail time.

8. The Scammer has a business, but needs to have merchandise shipped to victim'shouse, and then have victim ship the merchandise to scammer. These packages are goods and products bought with a stolen credit card numbers and now they need you to reship the packages to them. This is receiving and
distributing stolen good and is a crime, you could be held fined and jailed if
convicted.

9. By getting you to give up your personal information such as Visa and Passport, documentation the scammer will use that to develop a scam on other victims or use that to do develop a new Avatar using your information to establish a working identity.

This list is short and general in nature as the scammers and internet criminals keep
evolving, if you have an example that will raise a red flag for others, please list in the the comment section of this article and we will review it and postin here for the education of others.

If you have found yourself entrapped by a scammer and criminal:

First; You must do is gather all documents, and take them to a competent criminal Lawyer who will help you make a full report to the State and Federal authorities. Thus helping break you from the crime and criminal ring,

Second; Do not destroy anything on your computer as that will become part of the
investigation that will help show that you were entrapped and were not originally part of the scam and crime.

Third; Be ready to answer a lot of tough questions, and the law enforcement agencies may have you continue to act as the victim as they do their investigation to gather as much information on the criminal and criminal activity as possible. Under the guidance of your attorney, find a way to help thus taking the investigation from you and putting it on the criminal where it belongs.

Romance Scammers are Sophisticated Pathological Criminals that will do anything to entrap an innocent victim and drag them into their criminal schemes thus further isolating the victim from their safeguards and making them more isolated by fear of being caught. It is only through education that we can protect some of the internet user before they get entrapped and again through education that we can find the tools to help a victim to break free entrapment by the scammer and start down the road to recovery.

“Do Not Feed theScammers”


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