A 24-year old student, Josue Vides, at El Camino College Compton Center received an email from a fashion model that had seen his profile on an online dating site. Vides and the model, Klara Wester, began speaking regularly on the phone and soon became serious. Only when Wester cancelled every time they had plans to meet, did Vides become suspicious. Once the model started asking for money, Vides did some investigating and uncovered that her phone number actually belong to a man, James Brown, in Indiana. Vides also discovered that the same man was the subject of another online scam where he was impersonating a guess model in an attempt to deceive men into sending money and gifts. Brown is on probation for this charge and denies the new allegations, but is currently under investigation.

A person looking for love is just what the fraudster is looking for, says fraud expert Linda Webb aka The Fraud Dog. Fraudsters breed off of whatever people want, need, or desire. For example, if you’re looking for that perfect match on a dating website, sometimes the fraudster may be lurking, so be careful. Fraudsters are everywhere and they look for vulnerability points in any system. In this case, people desperately seeking friendship, love, or a relationship can fall prey to the scammers “too-good-to-be-true” promises. Fraudsters first try to see what you need, and then they turn around and tell you they have it, typically for a price. They will also try to get you to “act fast”.  The fraudster may try to prey upon your emotions, by indicating something bad has happened to them and they need money. Again, always be cautious of anyone on a dating website asking for money or something unusual. Always report fraud, says the Fraud Dog. The only way to stop fraud is to report it so that authorities can become aware of the scam, and stop it.

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