BBB warns of romance scam using victims as ‘money mules’

BBB warns of online romance scams

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Around Valentine’s Day many people are looking for love on dating websites and scammers are looking for victims.

A new Better Business Bureau report found scammers are using victims as “money mules” once their bank accounts run dry.

A money mule is someone who transfers money that was acquired illegally. The BBB’s report found that nearly 30 percent of romance scam victims unknowingly become money mules for their scammers.

Whitney Quick with the Better Business Bureau told Heartland News it’s happening all too often.

“Victims are helping move money from other frauds, other scams that are taking place so these are like the fake checks the sweepstakes scams they will deposit it and send the money elsewhere and it makes it a lot harder for the police to track down," Quick said.

“We talked on the phone once. He was British and he had a very strong British accent then we started texting each other because I couldn’t understand him,” said an anonymous woman, who fell victim to a scammer.

She said she had her suspicions but still bought into his affection.

“As time went on he would have a friend send me money and then he would ask me to buy him some Amazon cards and take off the numbers and send him the receipts and the cards,” said the woman.

She said her friend with the BBB told her she was a mule and what she was doing was illegal.

“With most of these people they don’t realize that they are being used as money mules and that they can also go to jail for moving money for these scammers,” said Quick.

So how can you make sure you’re not being scammed?

“The best way to avoid becoming a money mule is to do your research and make sure that you are really investigating who it is that you are talking to on these dating profile sites,” said Quick.

She said be cautious on dating websites and of anyone who asks you for money, especially if you have never met.

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