United States citizens should be alert to attempts at fraud by persons who profess friendship or romantic interest over the Internet. Correspondents who quickly move to discussion of intimate matters could well be scammers. If they are after your money, eventually they will ask for it.
Once a connection is made, the correspondent typically asks the U.S. citizen to send money for living expenses, travel expenses, or “visa costs.” Sometimes, the correspondent notifies the American citizen that a close family member has suffered an “accident” and is in need of immediate monetary assistance to cover medical bills. Other variations of this confidence scam have emerged of late, all with the principle goal of soliciting money from the U.S. citizen. Several Americans have reported losing thousands of dollars through such scams.
The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality or even gender of the correspondent. In the majority of cases reported to the U.S. Government, the correspondent turned out to be a fictitious person created only to lure the U.S. citizen into sending money.