Protect yourself and loved ones from online dating scams

Local News

In light of the $143 million dollar online dating scam reported by the U.S. Department of Justice this week, that defrauded a Hawaii woman of hundreds of thousands of dollars, cyber safety and security advocate Chris Duque urges family members to watch over their kupuna and their online activity.

It’s exactly like monitoring your children online — to keep them safe.

“The same technique used by these, you could say scammers, who prey on our kupuna involved in romance scams, is the same technique used by online sexual predators going after our keiki.”

Red flags include —
– a suggestion that you leave the dating site — to talk privately
– they tell you they’re in financial trouble and want help
– or they request gift cards

“So they kind of, they know what buttons to push. emotionally and financial buttons.”

Romance scammers typically target those who have lost a spouse — or anyone of any age who is lonely.

They will lie to gain trust.

“‘I’d really like to visit you, I was planning to go on this trip, but I ran into some problems, financially, but I really want to come see you.’ And I’ll kinda like, kind of hint that ‘maybe you can help me out. And I’ll promise to repay you.'”

Duque says never:

Give out your social security number — your date of birth — or financial information.

Don’t reveal the name of your bank — account numbers or your personal identification number.

We asked if there any hope of recovering money that has been lost.

Duque said, “Zero to none, especially when it goes overseas.”

Duque says if you — or a loved one — are victimized — immediately call police. Do not try to contact the scammer — and do keep all the messages that were exchanged, as evidence.

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