The MyChargeBack Blog

Stuck in the “Bonus” Spiderweb

Forex trading bonus scams prevent investors from withdrawing their funds

Many unregulated online scam brokerage sites simply steal all of your deposits. The “trading” is entirely fictitious. The professional-looking trading platform on their websites is, in actuality, completely phony. It’s a sham designed to make the inevitable losses look legitimate — just unlucky. And among their principal tools are forex trading bonus scams.

Here at MyChargeBack we hear it all. We’ve spoken to thousands of victims of online trading scams from over a hundred countries. They have been burned by phony forex and binary options brokers and a host of others scammers. Criminals masquerading as “brokers” have endless ways of separating you from your money, and they’re always thinking of new ones. 

Often, when you request a withdrawal, the fraudster will approve it on the condition that you first pay a processing fee (or whatever else he chooses to call it). Before you do so, ask yourself if that makes any sense. If the fee is less than your balance, why don’t they simply deduct it before crediting you the remainder? The reality is that this “fee” is just the final payment you will make towards your broker’s new car before he stops answering your phone calls and emails.

There Is No Such Thing as Free Money!

The one ploy our clients fall victim to more than any other is the innocent-sounding but malignant “bonus.” But it’s all fake. There are no bonuses. These are forex trading bonus scams. 

Ah, free money! Who wouldn’t want that? We all would, and scammers know that. Beware, therefore, of shady online brokers handing out money like the tooth fairy. You can get a bonus for signing up, forking over additional sums of money or getting your friends to sign up. Why are they so generous? Because they know they’ll never have to actually part with any of that money. And they know that because they’ll never allow you to withdraw it. That’s why these traps are forex trading bonus scams!

“What,” you say, “the bonus isn’t real?” Oh it’s real. A real trap. By accepting the bonus, you agree to a set of restrictions so abstruse, so convoluted that your average lawyer would have difficulty deciphering and applying it.

What Are the Restrictions?

The fine details vary considerably from one broker to another. In any case, the broker probably won’t tell you about them beforehand. If you look for them you’ll be hard pressed to find them. If they’re posted on the broker’s site, they’ll be hidden in the small print on the “Terms & Conditions” page along with a lot of legalese you may not even understand. 

But the bottom line is that before you can withdraw the bonus your have to use it in trading. A lot of it. You might need to trade upwards of $1,000 for every single dollar of bonus money you get. Even without the broker gaming the system, if you trade that amount you are almost statistically guaranteed to lose the rest of your money at some point. But the nastier brokers won’t even take that chance. They’ll make sure your account tanks. That way, if they’re convincing enough, you’ll never even think to go after them. You’ll just think you made a bad investment. Which is exactly what they want you to think.

If, however, you try to withdraw your balance when it’s still in the black you’ll discover just how trapped you are. Your whole account is encumbered and you just watch helplessly as it slides lower and lower, unable to get your money out. You’re in the bonus spiderweb, and the more you struggle, the more tightly it grips you.

If you’re a victim of an online investment scam, contact MyChargeBack today for a free fund recovery consultation. We’re an American company with a global reach. Working opposite over 750 banks, we have helped clients on every continent recover millions of dollars in funds that they thought were lost for good.

When Cases Aren’t “Worth It” to File Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

If you follow the news, you have a pretty good idea how much money there is in medical malpractice lawsuits. Multi-million dollar judgments and settlements make headlines, after all, and it’s no surprise that doctors normally pay tens of thousands of dollars a year in malpractice insurance premiums. And millions more to their medical malpractice lawyers. So you might assume that medical malpractice lawsuits are a plaintiff’s shortcut to fabulous riches, or at least a reliable way for victims of negligence to get their lives back on track.

But you’d be wrong.

The splashy headlines hide a more sober reality. The truth is that, for a variety of reasons, the vast majority of medical malpractice victims have no recourse to the legal system to set things right. The biggest hurdle for victims is, ironically, the huge amount of money that flows from these cases. How does that compute?

Why Aren’t Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Always Worth It?

Let’s say you’re a victim of clear-cut malpractice. You paid $20,000 for cosmetic surgery and the surgeon forgot to remove the sponge before sewing you up, leading to infection, repeated surgery, and permanent scarring. It’s an open-and-shut case. You set up an appointment at your local law office and meet with a highly regarded, experienced, and recommended lawyer. He looks over your records, asks a few questions, and politely declines. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we have a case here. Best of luck in the future.”

Before you lose your temper, take the time to understand why the lawyer refused. He’s not a bad guy, but he does need to make a living, while at the same time serving his clients’ interests. And your case won’t make him or you any money. Neither of you will ever see a dime.

What Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Require?

Successfully filing (let’s not even talk about winning yet) medical malpractice lawsuits requires huge investments of time and resources. The doctor’s insurance is going to fight it tooth and nail. Unlike other personal injury cases,medical malpractice lawsuits won’t even get off the ground without a huge amount of professionally-prepared expert evidence. Your lawyer is going to have to pay other doctors and professionals thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars for depositions. He needs to prove two things:

  1. That the defendant’s actions were negligent and contrary to the accepted standard of care.
  2. That the injury you suffered was directly caused by the above negligence and not by something or someone else.

After that, he needs to set a dollar amount for damages. The law does not allow for an arbitrary amount. It needs to be based on real world values, including lost income and the impact on you and your family. So if you were unable to work for a year, and your income is $40,000, compare the value of the lawsuit to a similar case for a victim who makes half a million. No comparison, right? And if your income is affected for the rest of your life, the number of years left until retirement, as well as the number of dependents, will also affect the value of the case.

Is Your Attorney Working on Contingency?

Now consider that your lawyer is working on contingency. That means he’s paying for the whole case out of his pocket. He will only make as a percentage of your payout in the event you win. If the payout is — let’s say — $100,000, but the case costs $120,000 to bring to court, that means you get nothing. And your lawyer loses $20,000. In such a situation, you have no case.

Think you’re alone? Numbers are notoriously hard to come by, but it seems like between three quarters and nine tenths of legitimate medical malpractice victims are unable to get a lawyer to represent them just because their case isn’t “worth it.”

Before even speaking to a malpractice attorney, therefore, concentrate first on what is achievable  now. You paid for a procedure that not only didn’t succeed, it caused damage. You deserve your money back. And the quickest path to recovering your funds is through a chargeback.

Challenging medical professionals can be very complex and mistakes can cost you. MyChargeBack will analyze your case and assist you throughout the entire recovery process.  So if you have been victimized by any type of medical malpractice, consult with our fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack to see if there is a chargeback strategy that is appropriate for your case.

Nightmare Domestic Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is a growing business model. Statistics can barely keep up with it because it is expanding so rapidly. And not all the numbers tell a happy tale. In far too many cases, patients end up sicker than ever due to poorly trained practitioners providing low quality products in substandard facilities. It’s one thing when these things happen overseas, but nightmares such as these occur in Florida as well. Welcome to the world of domestic medical tourism.

When you hear about medical tourism it’s natural for your mind’s eye to conjure images of poor tropical or Eastern European destinations offering short waiting times and low prices compared to treatment back home. Depending on the clinic and the doctor (and luck), the experience can be wonderful. But far too often it’s just the opposite. Botched surgeries, the wrong surgery, severe infections, and even death result from unfortunate medical tourism cases.

Which Country Hosts the Most Medical Tourists?

But did you know that the world’s top medical tourism destination is actually the United States? This little-known reality is the result of a number of factors. One is the presence of many of the world’s top hospitals and doctors. Naturally, they draw patients from around the world who can afford to pay for the very best. Another is domestic medical tourism. The U.S. is a big country. Laws, regulations and prices vary considerably from one state (or region or city) to another. So just as a Texan may consider traveling to Mexico for treatment, a New Yorker may go to Florida. Some American health insurance providers even promote domestic medical tourism as a way to control costs.

South Florida has become a hotspot for all kinds of domestic medical tourism. It’s not surprising, therefore, that it’s where many of the horror stories come from. A few months ago we published a report detailing the scandals coming from the addiction treatment industry there. Some of the scams involved keeping the victims addicted in order to keep the money flowing from insurance and concerned relatives.

Horror Stories of Domestic Medical Tourism

Now we are seeing news of similar shocking events at a number of South Florida cosmetic surgery clinics. Some of them are literally run by convicted criminals. They market their discount plastic surgery deals primarily to African-American and Latino women throughout the United States, as well as in Caribbean countries. Upon arriving at the clinic, patients are rushed through their procedures and wake up in the recovery room almost before they know what happened. Numerous cases of unsightly permanent scars and irreversible deformity have been documented. Needless to say, this is not consistent with the aims of cosmetic surgery. But it gets worse.

Some patients have been left permanently disabled or suffering chronic pain from their surgeries. Others have experienced severe infections, punctured internal organs, kidney failure, and shock. One surgeon forgot to remove a surgical sponge before sewing his patient closed. And over a dozen women have died.

The Florida state legislature has been trying to rein in the abuse for over a decade, but so far its efforts have come to little avail. Meanwhile, hundreds of women continue to suffer the ongoing effects of substandard surgical care. To add insult to injury, they paid thousands of dollars for the “privilege.”

If you are the victim of a medical tourism scam, it may be possible to get your money back. Contact MyChargeBack today to schedule a free consultation with our fund recovery experts.

Pet Scams

If you’ve never run across online pet scams you might not even believe how widespread and damaging they are.

A purebred dog can cost a lot of money. Hundreds of dollars. Thousands even. So can cats, not to mention more exotic pets like horses, llamas, tortoises, and rare birds. While dogs remain the subject of the most widespread of online pet scams, all follow the same story line. And if you have fallen victim to one, you know just how much money and emotional toil it cost you.

Typically, pet scammers operate a website, often tied into ads on Facebook, Craigslist or Instagram. Their ads offer purebred puppies at prices significantly lower than reputable breeders. In some cases, they even offer the pet for “free” as long as you pay for shipping, vaccination, and other medical and registration fees.

If you respond to an ad, they will often attempt to sound above board by doing their due diligence questions. Like asking questions about the size of your house and yard, the number of children in your family, how often the dog will be left alone, and so forth.

Once they gain your trust and you agreed on a price, they will demand an unusual payment method. It may be gift cards, prepaid debit cards, bank wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. What all these methods have in common is that they are difficult or impossible to trace and recover. That’s no surprise, since criminals like to avoid getting caught or losing their loot. But the untraceable payment has the added benefit of camouflaging their location.

Where Are Pet Scams Located?

Online pet scammers normally pretend that they’re in the same country as you are, but far enough away to make it impossible to meet face-to-face. Or at least close enough not to make shipping a puppy seem like a bizarre idea. But, in all likelihood, your scammer is overseas. The people who run pet scams are usually members of criminal gangs in Eastern Europe or East Africa. Ukraine and Cameroon are popular bases, as well as Russia, Bulgaria, and Nigeria.

After you send the money, the scammers may disappear right away. If not, they may try to squeeze some more money out of you with “unexpected” fees. For example, they may tell you that the fictional pet is stuck at the airport. They know how to take advantage of your kind heart and your sense of urgency. They might make you fear that the puppy is suffering and may die if you don’t pay the extra fees right away. At any rate, sooner or later you either catch on to the scam or the scammers feel they’ve gotten all they can out of you, and disappear. There was never a real puppy in the first place. Or a real horse, a real llama, a real tortoise, or a real rare bird.

Here Are a Few Simple Steps You Can Take to Avoid Falling for a Pet Scam:

  • Demand to see their license from your country’s relevant breeding association, and then double-check with that organization that it’s correct, including the address, phone number, and email
  • Do an online search for the seller’s email address to see if there are any outstanding complaints about them
  • Do an online search for the photos or videos of the animals that are for sale, since scammers regularly copy images from other websites
  • Never agree to pay by any payment method that is unusual or hard to trace, since reputable breeders will never demand such a thing
  • Ask to meet the dealer face-to-face first and request an opportunity to inspect the animal before agreeing to purchase it

Wellness Tourism Scams: Medicine for Healthy People

March 11, 2019

The medical tourism business model has a major problem. Very succinctly, there are only so many sick people at any given time. That being the case, the only way medical tourism operators can expand their business is by expanding their customer base. And the easiest way to do that is by offering services to include healthy people too. The result is “wellness tourism.” Of course, that opened the door for scammers, who want their piece of the action, too. The result is wellness tourism scams.

“Wellness” is such a vague term that it can mean almost anything anyone might want it to mean. Basically, it is the opposite of “illness.” Therefore, it can be more or less a synonym of “health.” But in the world of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), “wellness” takes on a life of its own. In this philosophical model, while standard medicine focuses on diseases and symptoms, wellness concerns itself instead with healthy lifestyles and “holistic” wellbeing.

Of course, every sane person is in favor of promoting a healthy lifestyle. We all want to avoid illness and promote wellbeing. But the wellness craze inadvertently created a market for medicine for healthy people. Nowhere is this more obvious than the burgeoning field of wellness tourism. This is a business worth half a trillion dollars a year! And it’s growing at a faster rate than most others.

Most people who sign up for wellness tourism do so as part of an overall vacation package. But a significant minority of aficionados spend around $90 billion a year just on traveling to wherever it is they engage in their wellness activities.

Why Do People Fall for Wellness Tourism Scams?

Wellness tourism can combine something as simple as a harmless visit to the hotel spa or a day trip to a hot springs in the midst of a vacation. But the big growth is in dedicated wellness tourism. Another term for such programs is “retreats.” And a lot of them are scams. A wellness retreat is a lot like a regular vacation, but with a much greater emphasis on specific activities intended to address the visitor’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.

Often, these retreats are heavily into ancient alternatives to modern medicine, such as Ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine. Or they focus on various New Age concepts such as detox or life coaching. Some are a mix various fads. True, the specific goals of the participants may be weight loss, depression relief or more nebulous wellbeing or “reboot” goals. But they may opt for these retreats simply because up until now nothing else works for them. Not because they know anything about the exotic philosophy or fad.

They’re Not Just in Exotic Locales

To make it all look more authentic, as well as to reduce expenses, many of these retreats take place in exotic locales. Especially in the countries where the disciplines on display originated thousands of years ago. As a result, wellness tourism scams are a booming business in India, Thailand, Bali, and many other exotic venues. But they are also huge in the United States, Europe, and most other developed nations.

Of course, with such ambiguous definitions of means and goals, and with so much money being spent, the field is ripe for every kind of scam and fraud. These can range from grossly substandard facilities to insufficient or incompetent staff, and even dangerous, harmful, or abusive situations. Victims of wellness tourism scams can find it difficult to address the injustice in their own countries. And the situation is even worse for those who traveled overseas.

The good news is that you have MyChargeBack to help you. We are an American fund recovery service with a global focus that assists our clients on every continent. If you are the victim of a wellness tourism scam, contact MyChargeBack today for a free consultation.

Dental Tourism

Do you like going to the dentist? Not many people do. In fact, lots of people have an irrational fear of seeing their dentists due to the sounds of the machinery and pain associated with certain treatments. However, everyone knows that taking care of your teeth should be a top concern. And that legitimate concern is what spurs dental tourism.

One of the main issues with dental care is the price. Many people don’t have dental insurance and treatments can become very expensive very quickly. Add to that the fact that most dental treatments require multiple visits to the dentist over a period of time. This all equals a lot of time and money.

For these reasons, more and more people are turning to dental tourism.  The significantly lower price can be a major attraction for anyone needing to have dental work done. While the financial benefits can be very appealing, there are, unfortunately, many issues to consider regarding dental tourism. Let’s discuss some of the risks and dangers that you should consider when going to a dental clinic outside your country.

Will My Dental Work Really Be Cheaper Abroad?

The quick answer to this question is yes. The price that you will pay for the treatment itself will most likely be substantially lower than in your own country. This is due to lower salaries and taxes, as well as the comparable costs of insurance, rent, schooling, and even equipment.

Don’t get too excited yet. There are many more costs to take into account when deciding to undergo treatment abroad. Don’t forget that you will have to travel (most likely by air) and stay in a hotel or other accommodation. Additionally, it’s very likely that you will have to return to the clinic multiple times in order to complete your treatment. This will, of course, cause the final price to rise substantially.

Some clinics will try to complete your treatment in one round. This can be risky for certain types of procedures and may be unprofessional as well.

Depending on the country you travel to, rules and regulations regarding treatment standards may be lacking or poorly enforced. Make sure to research the clinic you are interested in thoroughly. Check what safety regulations they have in place, what medications they use and who their dentists are and where they received their training.

Can Something Really Go Wrong?

Yes! One of the scariest parts of dental treatments is that issues can arise days, months or even years after the treatment itself. Therefore, you may have no idea if you underwent a successful treatment for a long time.

Patients can develop infections due to inadequate procedures. If you have an implant done, the area can become inflamed and, over time, the new tooth can fall out. Other procedures can cause nerve problems and prolonged swelling if carried out improperly.

The materials used in your mouth are also of critical importance. For example, when you have a crown done, it’s important that it be made of porcelain to prevent infection. Some clinics will use plastic to bring down the cost, putting the patient at great risk.

Dental Tourism: Proceed With Caution

The bottom line is that dental tourism can be dangerous, even if it saves you some money. If, however, you did undergo dental treatment abroad and the results were substandard, MyChargeBack may be able to help you get your money back. Contact us for a free initial consultation to determine if your case meets the criteria.

Medical Tourism for Senior Citizens

Medical tourism around the world, especially medical tourism for senior citizens. is a booming trend. In fact, it’s now rather common among geriatric patients. As patients get older, more and more health issues tend to arise. Taking care of these issues at home is often expensive. Patients may have to schedule appointments with specialists long in advance. In the meanwhile, their conditions may deteriorate. Sometimes, issues are urgent and simply can’t wait. Obviously, that puts patients in an uncomfortable situation.

On the face of it, therefore, medical tourism seems like a good option for the elderly. The availability of procedures, up-and-coming medical centers throughout the world and, particularly, the lower price tag combine to make it an attractive option.

Unfortunately, there are also many risks and potential problems in undergoing medical procedures abroad. First and foremost, you’re far from home. That itself opens a Pandora’s box.

Medical Tourism for Senior Citizens: What Can Go Wrong?

Seniors can choose from a wide range of medical procedures abroad. Specialized health care and surgery are the most common.

Despite the seemingly attractive price tag, there are many disadvantages to flying abroad to take care of your medical problems. Take, for example, regulations in force (or not in force) in other countries. Many countries that regard medical tourism for senior citizens as a major source of foreign currency lack the types of legislation, regulations and enforcement that you take for granted back home. As a result, there may be a black market for medical supplies, or even organs. It may also mean that the procedures themselves you undergo are not monitored by professional associations or regulatory agencies. In such cases, you can never be sure if you really will receive quality care.

Another issue with geriatric procedures is that the elderly are vulnerable to charlatans. They may become the target of criminals and scammers while traveling abroad. Especially when they are recovering from medical procedures and may not be familiar with the local language, laws or customs.

Travel can also be difficult for elderly patients. Long plane flights can cause other health issues. It may also be difficult, or medically prohibitive, to travel home while you are recovering.

Buying Medications Abroad

Another problem with medical tourism for senior citizens is buying prescription medications outside of the country. In certain countries, medications may be substantially cheaper, or even accessible without a prescription.

Be very careful, then, when considering such an option! If the country you travel to lacks the appropriate legislation, medications do not have to pass any testing process before they go on the market. Or they could even be counterfeit. The money you save by going abroad, in this case, will clearly not be worth it.

Do Senior Citizens Actually Get Hurt by Medical Tourism?

The answer is yes! There are countless reports of elderly patients who traveled abroad for medical treatment who returned in worse off than before. The complications they suffer can be dangerous and often require additional treatments.

In the worst-case scenario, people have actually died as a result of medical tourism.

In 2007, an Australian woman in her fifties traveled to Bangkok for a tummy tuck and breast lift. Upon her discharge, she developed an infection a few days after the surgery. She returned to the clinic for a follow-up (at her own cost) and then flew home ill. It turned out that it was a potentially fatal infection. She required additional treatment after she arrived back in Australia. The private clinic where she underwent the original procedure was most likely non-regulated. As a result, its hygienic standards were insufficient. Always make sure, therefore, to go to an accredited institution.

Medical Tourism for Senior Citizens Is Not Always Worth It

While traveling abroad may seem like an attractive option in addressing medical problems, there are many complications that can arise. These can threaten your life and also empty your pockets.

Before you make any decisions, make sure to do detailed research about your destination and clinic. Additionally, be prepared to spend more money than you anticipate.

If, however, you feel that you were scammed, contact us at MyChargeBack for a free initial consultation to determine is there’s a way to recover the funds that you lost.

MyChargeBack Does Not Recommend Investment Firms

Recently, someone reported to us that he was unexpectedly called by a firm called AZtrades, a supposed brokerage offering forex, CFDs and commodities, and told that they received his name and phone number from MyChargeBack. Given MyChargeBack’s reputation as the world’s most trusted fund recovery service, he assumed that was confirmation that AZtrades was a legitimate broker that is properly licensed and regulated in his country.  

It is not.

For the record, MyChargeBack zealously protects client confidentiality. We do not provide the names and telephone numbers of anyone who contacts us to third parties under any circumstances without expressed permission.

No less importantly, MyChargeBack does not endorse or recommend any specific investment or investment service, broker or brokerage, bank or other financial institution, be it regulated or unregulated. Anyone who hears otherwise can be assured that is a misrepresentation. First, our sole focus as a business is on recovering funds for clients who have been scammed. And second, it would be illegal for us to provide such a recommendation, since doing so requires regulatory permission.

If you have been similarly contacted by any firm and told that they received your name and number from MyChargeBack, or that MyChargeBack recommends or endorses them, we advise you to hang up and report the incident to us by email to our Customer Satisfaction Department at cs@mychargeback.com

Recycling Binary Options into Forex and CFD Scams

It took far too long, but binary options finally has the bad name it has so justifiably earned. And that’s why the operators of binary options sites are now peddling forex and CDF scams.

Unfortunately, there are some people who still don’t know, so a few binary options sites may remain online. But the crooks behind the countless binary options scams that inundated the internet from 2010 or so until early 2018 discern the sea-change and are getting out of the business. Sort of. That explains why they marched en masse to forex and CFD scams.

How Are Forex and CFD Scams Different from Binary Options?

Binary options scammers are quickly recycling their existing online platforms in order to market them as different, allegedly legitimate, investments. The two most popular of these are forex and CFD scams.

Forex (or FX), is a contraction of “foreign exchange.” Forex is a type of CFD. But it is limited to the foreign currency market.

So what’s a CFD? It’s a contraction of “contract for difference.” This trading model involves an investor (buyer) making an agreement with a broker (seller). One will pay the other the difference between the present value of some asset (gold, currency, public stock, or almost anything else that is traded) and its value at a certain time in the future (the contract time). If the asset’s value goes up, the seller pays the buyer. If it goes down, the buyer pays the seller.

For example, let’s imagine there was a contract for $100 worth of Microsoft stock with the contract expiring 24 hours later. If the value of Microsoft the next day were $110, the seller would owe the buyer his original investment plus an extra $10. The basic difference between a CFD and a stock, however, is that a CFD doesn’t involve any ownership of the asset. The investor is basically just betting on the trends in the asset’s value. In this way, trading CFDs and binary options is so similar that switching over platforms from one to the other was a snap. The con artists are back in business.

CFDs Are More Dangerous than Binary Options

In fact, CFD scams are actually more hazardous than binary options. In the case of binary options, the worst that could happen with any trade would be the loss of the entire investment. But if there’s a volatile market, CFDs potentially expose the investor to losing far more than the investment, The result is a crushing debt.

Of course, if you win on a CFD you will be able to make money only if your broker is licensed. No one can set up a legitimate brokerage and offer such investment services if he does not have a licensed issued by the country’s financial regulator. Generally, scammers are not registered at all. Which means they are not trading anything at all. And to escape justice, they are not physically present in a country with a robust regulator and an effective law enforcement system. All they are doing is stealing your investment the moment you deposit it. Understand this: they’re thieves.

Sooner or later the victim gets it. In most cases, the victim gets it after losing a lot of money.

Are you the victim of a forex or CFD scam? And where is your so-called broker now? Bringing him to justice, if you can even find him, can be nigh impossible.

But at the very least, don’t you deserve to get your money back? If you paid the scammer with a credit card or wire transfer, that may be possible. Regrettably, successfully opening and winning a dispute in such cases is encumbered with an astonishing amount bureaucracy and red tape. The good news is you have someone on your side.

If you believe you are a victim of online forex and CFD scams, contact MyChargeBack today for a free consultation.

Giving Love a Bad Name: Solving the Epidemic of Romance Scams

It seems like for every legitimate use of the internet, a parallel criminal industry exists to fleece innocent users out of their money. One of the saddest (and most profitable) is the epidemic of romance scams. It takes many forms, but the common thread is to take advantage of people’s need for love and connection in order to get them to part with their money.

Most often, victims first encounter romance scams either through social media or on legitimate dating sites. If the victim is male, the scammer will usually take on the identity of a beautiful young student. If the victim is female, the scammer’s fake identity will be a successful professional. Usually an engineer, a doctor or a soldier stationed overseas. Whatever the disguise, the story progresses very quickly from introduction to declarations of love. Not long thereafter, as soon as the thief thinks that the victim is sufficiently fooled, the requests for money begin.

Throwaway Lines Typical of Romance Scams

These may take several forms. The “beloved” may need money for a plane ticket in order to join their partners. Perhaps they or a family member need urgent and expensive medical care. Or criminals or corrupt government/immigration authorities are holding them illegally. In that case, they need cash to pay their captors off be able to leave the country. In another common thread, the mysterious love interests claim to be extremely wealthy. But they suddenly must pay taxes or some sort of processing fee to obtain their million-dollar inheritance. There are endless variations on the theme.

Once the victim sends the money, another excuse or emergency will pop up. The scammer will always claim to need more money before the lovers can finally meet. The first request for cash is just the tip of the iceberg. The scammer won’t stop until you do. And you won’t stop until you realize the love of your life duped you. The bottom line is that the scammer manipulated your emotions right from the start.

Extortion in the Guise of Love

Another approach used by online romance scammers is extortion. For example, romance scammers will eventually entice their victims into sending selfies. Sometimes, the requests will specify that the victims pose in some sort of compromising position. Or that the photos or videos be explicit. Even if they’re not, they can still show something that is potentially embarrassing. Or even illegal. Once in possession of the photos or videos, the scammer will blackmail the victim. If you don’t send money, the scammer will threaten to make the material public. After all, by now, the scammer knows who your relatives and friends are. So you believe the threat is real. And you pay up.

Don’t even try to threaten the scammer in return. The photos he sent you of himself, or she sent you of herself, are all fake. They are copies of photos of other people he or she found online. And where is the scammer? Good luck in bringing him or her to justice. The name he or she gave you is phony. A mere alias. And whoever they are, they’re certainly not where they claimed they were. They’re almost certainly in some far off country that has little interest in bringing them to justice. But you have a phone number, right? Sorry, that won’t help you either. With internet telephony, anyone can get a phone number in virtually any country he or she wants. The scammer disconnected the line the same day you realized it was all fake.

But what about the money? Don’t you at least deserve to get it back? If you are a victim and paid the scammer by credit card or wire transfer, it may be possible. Unfortunately, the process of opening and winning a dispute in cases like this is weighed down with an unbelievable amount bureaucratic red tape. Fortunately, you have someone to help you.

If you believe you have been the victim of a romance scam, contact MyChargeBack today to receive a free consultation.