“Romance scammers often appear as attractive, wealthy, and successful business people looking for serious relationships. They approach victims on dating apps or social media and start intimate online relationships,” shares Marijonas, a romance scam victim from Lithuania, Europe’s emerging fintech hub.
Months ago, he “matched” with attractive jewelry maker Irina on Tinder. She messaged him first and then offered to switch to WhatsApp. Her Tinder profile linked to her Instagram, which had 500 followers, was active, displayed her luxurious lifestyle, and looked legit.
“You get the impression that you are lucky enough to meet a girl that you don’t even expect,” the man says.
Like him, Irina was involved with investing. She said that 70% of her income even came from investments. The woman shared an investment account with her brother, a financial analyst. He made successful leverage trades based on insider info that his boss, Nikolay, shared with them for a 23.5% quarterly fee.
"Honestly, I earned up to 10% per year from my investments, while she got that and more per month. The 23.5% was worth trying. There was nothing unusual about it," said Marijonas.
Irina mentioned the Aplore investment platform, registered in Romania and operating under the license of Cyprus, which had no previous online history. Marijonas registered an account, spent €10K to buy Bitcoins on the Huobi exchange, and transferred them into his Aplore trading account.
“We started investing: I logged in and shared my screen via Skype, and he told me what positions to open. We started with currency pairs. Profits increased in front of my eyes. I earned over €3K during the first week,” said the man.