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Morocco Internet Fraudsters Getting Paid in Casablanca

Morocco Internet Fraudsters Getting Paid in Casablanca

Romance scams have spread fast through most of the world, leaving victims everywhere, but mainly from developed countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. One of the issues with this expansion is not only that the victims are increasing and that the average losses per individual are getting amazingly higher, it is also a sign that the criminal industry is growing, and there seems that nothing can be done to stop it.  Authorities in developing countries at least, have had little success.  Morocco has seen a significant increase in scam cases, and some locals worry it will soon get a bad name, such as Nigeria or Russia, for example.

The first country to have a reputation for this kind of fraud was Nigeria and their economy has suffered the consequences of this reputation. Nobody wants to invest or do businesses online with Nigeria, no matter how honest and transparent things may look. The perceived risk is simply too high.  The scamming business has spread like a virus to places all around the globe, but is especially high in Russia, Ukraine, Romania, China, Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and now Morocco.  Government agencies and investigator worry Morocco could suffer a serious negative reputation if things aren’t done to stop the growing trend.  A bad economy and widespread access to the internet both fuel the problem.

International private investigators have seen a significant rise in Internet scams that are generating in Morocco, particularly romance scams. In the last three years, mafia rings have expanded their operations to Casablanca and not many alerts have been published yet regarding this matter. Maybe the image of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca still remains as top of mind for many people, who expect from this place an incredibly romantic experience. However the truth is very far from the movies. Internet cafés in Casablanca are now full of freshly trained online scammers looking to profit from naïve people and those who do not care to verify the facts.  Verification and due diligence is more important than ever.

Hardly anyone is safe from internet scams these days, and new schemes of fraud are created every day. This is why it is important to check for any red flags.  Investigators caution that even the most skeptical internet users and business people can be a victim.  Don’t underestimate the creativity and IT capabilities of an experience internet scammer or con-artist.  It can happen to you.  If you’ve met someone in Morocco or plan on doing business with someone in Morocco, it’s important to speak to a professional about how to lower your risk.

These are some tips to avoid being a victim of Morocco internet scams:

1. Spotting an online dating scammer is tricky. Check for signs that may indicate that the person is not real. For instance, the use of professional pictures, getting too attached too soon, and claims of financial trouble. Morocco men tend to be very expressive and are very successful in love with foreign women, but don´t get carried away. Before getting involved with any foreigner that you only know online, get a dating background check. It might save you from big financial and emotional trouble.

2. One of the online schemes used recently in Morocco is blackmailing. This is a particularly delicate matter for women, since it is usually them who are the target for this kind of fraud. How does it work? A woman meets a Moroccan man, he lures her into sharing sexual content, either videos or photos of herself, and then threatens to publish them on the internet or to send them to people she cares about (a boss, family members, friends or people she knows). The victim is asked for money to be sent through Western Union or any other money wiring service in order to keep the criminal from posting it. So, before sharing any private content with someone online, think of how you feel about this being all over the internet.

3. Try not to mix love and business. Many victims of scam have lost their money not because they were trying to get their beloved one marry them, but because they were involved in some kind of romantic relationship and then lured into buying gold or investing in a great opportunity that this person presented them. Online scammers gain people´s trust first and then make their moves. If you are being offered a great deal in gold or any other commodity, try to verify the facts and get due diligence from a professional investigator if necessary.

Remember when considering a background check investigation, due diligence or any other type of private investigation service in Morocco, make sure the company has trained professionals on the ground in Morocco, in Casablanca or other cities.  Wymoo has highly trained investigators on the ground where you need us.  Don’t be fooled by someone claiming to offer an investigation, but does not even have investigators in the country.  There are no databases or internet searches of any value in Morocco, so you’ll need a local to properly verify and access local records.

Online dating sites and social networks are the places where most Moroccan scammers find their victims. Be sure to protect your private information and be skeptical every time you meet someone online who claims to be from Morocco or doing business here. You might end up living a drama very different from the Casablanca movie.  Investigators emphasize sharing less information on the internet and doing everything possible to protect your private information.  When in doubt, speak to a professional about verifying any individual or company.

Are you communicating with someone in Morocco?  Be safe, contact us!

C. Wright
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