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When an Online Romance Scam Becomes a Federal Case

 Posted on April 12, 2024 in Uncategorized

TX defense lawyerDating apps and online matchmaking services are more popular than ever. Even commonly used social media websites that are not designed as dating services, like Facebook and Instagram, can be used to facilitate a romantic relationship. However, online romances are not always genuine. Romance scams are becoming more and more common. A romance scam is when one person contacts another online and initiates a flirtatious conversation, posing as an interested suitor with the ultimate goal of getting the target to send money. Even innocently asking to borrow money from a person you met online and are genuinely interested in having a relationship with can look like a romance scam from an outside perspective. If you are accused of a federal internet crime, it is important to immediately reach out to a Dallas, TX federal criminal defense lawyer.

Why The FBI Might Get Involved in a Romance Scam

Having federal law enforcement rather than the local police investigate or arrest you can be quite alarming. FBI involvement in an online scam shows the seriousness of the matter. The most common reason that online romance scams are prosecuted at the federal level is that the offender and victim are in different states, meaning that the messages designed to defraud the victim crossed state lines. You do not have to physically leave Texas. Sending a message to someone in another state automatically gives the federal government jurisdiction.

How Romance Scams Work 

If you begin messaging someone with the goal of tricking them into transferring money to you and you pretend that you are romantically interested in the victim, you may be carrying out a romance scam. Generally, the offender causes the victim to believe that he is in love with her and intends to be with her. (Note that either party may be of either gender.) Once the romance is established, the fraud scheme begins. The offender may ask the victim to send money under the guise of:

  • Helping the offender move - The offender may claim that he needs money to immigrate or move so that he can be with the victim in person. Once the money is sent, the offender disappears from the victim’s life. 
  • Investing - Cryptocurrency fraud may be involved in this version of a romance scam. The offender may promise the victim that her investment will pay off. However, there is no cryptocurrency - the offender takes the money for himself. 
  • Recovering funds - The offender may claim that he has a significant amount of money, but it is inaccessible, and he must pay a fee to reclaim it. There is no money. Once the victim sends the fee, the offender claims he needs to access his funds, the offender vanishes with the money. 

In some cases, asking to borrow money from someone you are legitimately romantically involved with can be a perfectly innocent action. However, it may appear to be a romance scam.

Contact a Dallas, TX Federal Internet Crimes Attorney

Spencer & Associates is experienced in defending the rights of those accused of federal white-collar crimes. Dallas County, TX federal criminal defense attorney Arnold Spencer routinely handles high-profile white-collar crime cases and will treat your case with the same level of care. Contact us at 214-385-8500 for a free initial consultation.

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