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Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year, hoping to find a companion or even a soul mate.But today, on Valentine’s Day, we want to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams.Many states have their own rules governing debt collector practices as well.These are some of the latest outrageous allegations of abuse: Threatening to take away children: Last week, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Texas-based debt collector, Goldman Schwartz, for using deceptive and abusive scare tactics to force people to pay their payday loan debts.Goldman Schwartz hasn't responded to the complaint filed by the FTC, and its attorney declined to comment on the case.Posing as a law firm: To scare consumers into paying, Goldman Schwartz also allegedly posed as a law firm or claimed to work with law enforcement authorities -- even charging unauthorized attorney's fees that it referred to as "juice." One consumer, who asked to remain anonymous, filed a complaint against Goldman Schwartz claiming its collectors pretended to belong to a law firm one day, and the next day said they worked for local law enforcement.Threatening to dig up dead bodies: Another collection agency, Rumson, Bolling & Associates, was fined more than 0,000 last month for taking harassment to a whole new level.One of the worst offenses listed in the FTC's lawsuit: collectors allegedly threatened to dig up the bodies of debtors' deceased children and hang them from a tree or drop them outside their door if they failed to pay their funeral bills.
The case was referred to the Justice Department, and a federal grand jury indicted Patel last year.
For weeks, even months, you may chat back and forth with one another, forming a connection. But ultimately, it’s going to happen—your new-found “friend” is going to ask you for money.
So you send money…but rest assured the requests won’t stop there.
In addition to losing your money to someone who had no intention of ever visiting you, you may also have unknowingly taken part in a money laundering scheme by cashing phony checks and sending the money overseas and by shipping stolen merchandise (the forwarded package).
In another recently reported dating extortion scam, victims usually met someone on an online dating site and then were asked to move the conversation to a particular social networking site, where the talk often turned intimate.
If convicted, Patel will face up to 20 years in prison or a fine of $250,000 (or both).