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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Minnesota business may lose $4 million as result of romance scam

Minnesotans continue to face big financial problems as a result of online romance scams and sometimes these scams affect more than just the initial victims.

Apparently, an example of this played out recently in Minnesota and may impact an employer. A Lewiston, Minn. business could be out nearly $4 million as a result of a romance scam, according to a recent story by CBS News.

According to the story, a 61-year-old Wabasha woman has been charged with felony theft in connection with the case. The CBS story says that according to court documents the business owner noticed “unexpected losses and inconsistencies,” including large transfers. The business, according to the story, then hired an outside firm to research the problem.

Ultimately, it was determined that the employee had been having marital problems and began an online relationship with a man who later claimed he owed $7 million for work he performed in Dubai. He convinced the employee he needed to borrow U.S. currency in order to acquire the $7 million he owed.

The FCC reports that nearly 70,000 people reported romance scams in 2022. Losses for these scams totalled more than $1.3 billion with the median reported loss estimated at $4,400. At least 60% of these scams involved cryptocurrency and gift cards.

Here are a few tips regarding romance scams from the Better Business Bureau:
* Never send money or personal information that can be used for identity theft to someone you’ve never met in person. Never give someone your credit card information to book a ticket to visit you. Cut off contact if someone starts asking you for information like credit card, bank, or government ID numbers.
* Ask specific questions about details given in a profile. A scammer may stumble over remembering details or making a story fit.
* Do your research. Many scammers steal photos from the web to use in their profiles. You can do a reverse image lookup using a website like tineye.com or images.google.com to see if the photos on a profile are stolen from somewhere else. You can also search online for a profile name, email, or phone number to see what adds up and what doesn’t.

Share your scam story
Local law enforcement is concerned about the impact of scams on area residents, particularly the elderly.
Consequently, this newspaper works with local police and sheriff’s departments to keep residents updated on common schemes. Scam Alerts will appear in future editions as often as possible in the coming weeks.

Readers can also find online scam updates Tuesdays at windomnews.com.
If you have been the target of a scam, your first contact should be local authorities. Also, feel free to contact us with details (we can keep your name confidential).

Send your story to: rahnl@windomnews.com, or call 507-831-3455. By sharing, you could prevent someone from being scammed.

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