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Romanian Scams from Bucharest and Beyond

Romanian Scams from Bucharest and Beyond

Romania, a relatively small country situated between Central and Southeastern Europe, has built an unsavory reputation for its variety of largely successful internet scams. With advances in technology it is easy to duplicate website security features to present a seemingly legitimate business. And since stolen identities top their list of fraudulent activities, private investigators in Bucharest say that people behind these Romanian scams have no problem pretending to be someone they aren’t.

As with any internet interaction, it’s important to conduct your own research when trying to determine the validity of a website, before you provide them with personal information. Protect yourself and establish systems, such as spam controls and anti-virus programs, on your computer to give you one more line of defense against these scams. As a business owner, do your due diligence before dealing professionally with people in Romania and other countries.  Being a victim of fraud is costly.

Romanian internet scam artists use some tried and true methods to con you out of your money, they aren’t always on the cutting edge of fraud, but it still works. Here’s what to watch out for:

Online Romance

Sadly people searching for love have been victims of scams for years, and the availability and anonymity of online dating has fostered a booming opportunity for these criminals. With user created profiles and often little in the way of identity verification, it is easy to pretend to be someone else. Add to that being half way across the world, and you create the perfect recipe for dishonesty. It’s important to know who you are communicating with and remove any doubt prior to engaging in any type of meaningful relationship, and certainly before you meet or send money – a request that should always raise a red flag.

Non-Existent Products 

Seemingly legitimate sites exist all over the internet offering products for sale at a discount. Be aware that these Romanian scammers often have contacts in the United States, Canada and Great Britain to assist them with the perceived legitimacy of their claims or sites. If someone requested that you wire money to a town in the U.S. in order to save significant money on a hot ticket piece of merchandise, you may not question it. The best motto for this type of scam is simple, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Investigate the origins of these “companies” offering you the moon at a discount, it’s likely to end with your hands and pockets empty.  Deal with only reputable and known websites online.

Phishing and Hacking

One town outside of the Romanian capital of Bucharest, is a hot bed for successful and profitable internet scams. Râmnicu Vâlcea, according to an article in wired magazine, has been leading the way in ecommerce and hacking scams for over a decade in Romania. Fake emails claiming to be sent from local government agencies in the United States target business owners. Banking and other financial information is siphoned via viral links, allowing the criminals access and ultimately the ability to drain the money from accounts. Tracing the responsible individuals can prove difficult, and often significant time may pass before the root of the scam has been recognized.  Law enforcement rarely investigators these crimes.

Another form of hacking is through credit cards. Similar to that of the fake marketplace scam people, often Americans are tricked into providing their credit information. This doesn’t only lead to the draining of bank funds, but also identity theft, continuing the cycle of fraud. Americans seem to be the prime targets of these scams that are often perpetrated by youth in countries like Romania. The promise of fancy cars, clothes and money is too good to pass up in areas that have seen decades of impoverishment and negative government control.  Romania is a great country, but there is a high risk for fraud.

Have you been the victim of an internet scam?

C. Wright
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