Are you looking for love or friendship and perusing online sites to find it? Have you met someone with a sad story who asks you for money to help him or her out of a situation, to help buy needed supplies while in the military and overseas, or to buy a plane ticket so you can meet in person? Unfortunately, there are many scams where this happens. They are all some variation of what is often referred to as the “sweetheart scam.”
One that has been gaining steam lately combines the sweetheart scam and mobile banking. A lonely heart, let’s call her Eva, falls for someone far away. Let’s call this person Sam. Sam would love to meet Eva face to face. So he asks Eva to make a reservation on an airline so he can visit. He will deposit the money for the fare into her banking account directly, for efficiency. All Sam needs is her bank name and her mobile banking credentials and he will deposit a check directly into the account after he downloads the app. After all, love just can’t wait.
Unfortunately, right after he does it, something goes amiss and he cannot visit after all. He wants that money back, immediately via some type of money transfer service. Eva checks her account and it shows the money he deposit is indeed in her account, so she sends the money right away.
Unfortunately, Eva just got scammed. Sam never intended to meet her. He just wanted cash. You see, when you use mobile deposit with your financial institution, there is a period of time before the deposit is actually approved and funds are available. That time period differs for each financial institution and can range from 24 hours to several days, depending on circumstances. So, even if the mobile deposit says it was successful, the money may not actually be available right away. The check that Sam deposited bounced, of course and Eva was out the cost of a plane ticket.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when first meeting someone new. We want to trust people, but no one needs your mobile banking credentials. So keep those a secret no matter how hard a person tugs at your heartstrings. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there in the world with bad intentions. Don’t give them information that can be used to steal from you.
In some cases with this scam, if the victim refuses, the scammer threatens to sue or otherwise scare them out of money. Don’t let it happen to you. Keep your money close to your heart and let the scams of the world go.
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