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Morocco Internet Fraud a New Risk Online

Posted On   date26/03/2015

Morocco Internet Fraud a New Risk Online

When talking about online fraud, Nigeria is probably the first country that comes to mind.  Maybe even Romania, Philippines and Russia.  But Morocco?   You probably haven’t heard anything about that being a high risk country for fraud.  That’s because in the past, scamming via the internet was practically non-existent in Morocco.  But, as technology and economies change, so too do criminal techniques to scam and steal money.  In the past few years, Morocco (along with Turkey and Malaysia) has seen some of the highest growth in reported fraud cases.   Relationships initiated via the internet are most susceptible to scams, and individuals should be verified.

Scamming is now a global issue, and a huge industry.  Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Romania, Russia, the Ukraine, Malaysia and the Philippines have cashed in on the internet as a tool to con unknowing victims worldwide.  But, with uncontrolled illegal immigration flooding countries like the U.K. and U.S., the threat now lays within.  No longer is Nigeria a threat from Nigeria, but criminal networks and accomplices now operate from developed countries such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.  So, a criminal or online scammer can be located anywhere in the world.

International private investigators from Wymoo have been receiving a steady increase in criminal investigation and background check requests for individuals and businesses in Morocco.  Many of them have turned out to be fraud, and like never before, the slow economy and lack of employment in Morocco has led many unethical individuals to the internet to engage in scams, hacking or other criminal activity online.  Or worse, some criminals have turned to the Muslim or Islamic terrorist networks.  With widespread poverty, crime always goes up.

Historically, Morocco has been a country where fraud and crime happened more on a local level than online. Travel agencies and hospitality services have been alerting people about tourist scams for years. Morocco had been also associated in the past to lottery scams. However, the new schemes show that things are taking a new direction. Evidence indicates that online crime rings are expanding their operations to Morocco, and not too many people are aware of this fact. A country not having a bad reputation is a significant advantage for criminals.  On this same note, Nigerian scammers very rarely let their victims know they are from Nigeria.  It’s all about perception, gaining your trust, and of course stealing your money.

Professional private investigators say if you’ve met someone via social media or an online dating site claiming to be traveling, working or living in Morocco, this is a major red flag.  Dating background checks conducted by trained investigators in Morocco can save you time and money, and help prevent  you from being a victim.  Verifying individuals early in the relationship is key.

If you are considering investing or doing business in Morocco, and you have found the company website or representative via the internet, proceed with caution.  Fake companies and false identities are a growing problem, and even if a company exists or is legally registered, this does not rule out fraud.  Speak to a reputable investigator about comprehensive due diligence to verify the representative or company.

Wymoo International fraud specialists recommend the following:

1. Regardless of the type of relationship you have –romantic, business, etc- whenever you meet someone online the first thing to do is protect yourself. Don´t give out too much information about yourself, try keeping the conversation away from details that could eventually lead you to being victim of identity theft or worse.  Never send money to anyone in Morocco you’ve never met, period.

2. If you are considering taking a big step or are getting emotionally or financially involved with this person, get a background check as soon as possible. Background checks should be part of a prevention measure, not something you do when things get fishy. If the results are positive, you can have peace of mind. If not, you will save yourself from financial risk, bankruptcy or emotional stress.  Information ahead of time is extremely valuable.

3. If you failed to verify the person before sending money or getting too involved, then check for red flags that could indicate you are at risk. Money requests for any reason should be an alert. If your contact comes from a high risk country for fraud like Ghana, Malaysia, Nigeria, (and recently Morocco) then contact us for advise on how to get the facts and clear evidence to be safe. Many online scammers say they come from the United States or other developed countries, and then had to relocate or travel – don’t overlook this red flag.

4. For those who already know they have been scammed by a Moroccan con artists, it is important to cease all contact with the individual or people. It is better to change your email address and to double check your social media and online profiles and verify the privacy settings on sites such as Facebook are set to the highest level.  Keep your Google footprint to a minimum to keep companies, the government (and criminals) from using and abusing your information.  Online criminals will target victims multiple times, so  you need to be extra cautious.

Stay informed about the online risks.  Have you met someone from Morocco?  Contact us today!

C. Wright
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