Google hangouts scams – never pay money to strangers
Do you know Hangouts? Maybe not, because not everyone uses this app.
Google Hangouts is a widely developed service of the search engine giant for video conferencing and instant messaging. In principle, therefore, Hangouts is a communication platform. You can use it to:
- write messages
- make phone calls
- make video calls
Now you might be wondering, how can it be used to commit fraud? Well, not with Google Hangouts itself, but the perpetrators use Hangouts as a platform to communicate with their victim. These are people who are looking for acquaintances on the Internet, and in the process, they get “pulled over the coals” by a romance scammer.
How does the romance scam work via Hangouts?
In the majority of cases, African Internet romance scammers use the Google Hangouts platform to text with potential victims. The scam is an advance fee fraud crime and now falls under the umbrella term of scamming. But how exactly do Google Hangouts scams work?
In so-called romance scamming, a scammer first writes to you under a false name on a platform on the World Wide Web. This can be social media, chat rooms, singles exchanges and others. Popular platforms, dating sites and online dating apps for romance scams are
- Plenty of Fish
- Words with friends
- and many other social media and internet dating sites
Fraudsters prefer to communicate via Google Hangouts, since you only need an email to register. Therefore it is anonymous and easy to use.
For his romance scam, the love scammer sets up a fake profile with stolen photos and a made-up name on social media platforms or dating sites. The real person in the pictures does not know that his or her photos are being misused for fraudulent purposes.
The fake profile can show a man or a woman. Often it is a doctor, an engineer on an oil rig, a soldier of the US Army in the gulf region or elsewhere abroad or a successful businessman. The oil rig scammer and the military scammer have the greatest success in their scams.
By the way, as a woman, the risk of receiving a message from a romance scammer is higher. There are simply more male romance scammers than female ones, so female users get a message more often.
A lively correspondence then follows via the social media platform. After some time, the romance scammer asks the later victim to switch to the Hangouts app. Many scammers love the Google Hangouts app. This is free and secure. He justifies this because he wants to unsubscribe from the other platform and emails are too cumbersome.
In reality, it is just a precautionary measure on the part of the perpetrator, because he must expect at any moment that the algorithms of the platform will recognize his profile as false or that someone else will report it. In the event of a block, the painstakingly established contact with the victim would be lost immediately.
At some point the scammer asks for money in the Google Hangouts scam
You download Hangouts and text with the Love Scammer. The conversation between the scammer and the victim becomes more and more intense. For the victim the conversation is very time consuming.
In the process, the fraudster tries to isolate his victim from his environment by sending him continuous messages.
After some time, he confesses to you the great love he feels for you.
Then, at some point, the scammer asks you for money. This can be for a thousand different reasons, but the request comes. It can be money for
- a plane ticket
- a business idea
- a gold find that needs to be sent by courier or diplomat
- a package he wants to send you
- customs fees
- medical bills
- money for medicines
- money for food
- a loan
- a share
- and so on
There are numerous reasons to ask for money. Scammers tend to be very inventive. It is very important to beware of the lies romance scammers tell you. Often it is not a single person with whom the victim writes, but a whole gang of scammers.
Sometimes scammers ask just for your information, which is then used for new scams. However the ultimate goal is to get money from their victims.
The scammer accepts any conceivable form of payment
It doesn’t have to be cash. The romance scammers accept every conceivable form of payment and money substitution methods in the Hangouts scam such as:
- Wire transfer
- Cash via Western Union or MoneyGram or RIA
- SWIFT transfer to a foreign bank account
- Bitcoin transfer
- Amazon gift cards
- iTunes credit cards
- Steam Gift Cards
- PCS Cards
All forms of fraud have one thing in common: they are intended to send money or money substitutes to third parties. The money doesn’t always go directly to the scammers, as they often interpose financial agents to cover their tracks and make it harder to find the real culprit later. Most scammers avoid using their real name in a scam – even as a money recipient.
Can the Hangouts operator prevent the scam?
Is Google Hangouts safe? Yes, it is. Hangouts is a reputable platform and has nothing to do with the scam. But: Scammers use Google Hangouts for their scams.
In fact, the romance scammers use the messenger primarily because it is extremely popular and easy in Africa
How do I protect myself from Google Hangouts app scams?
As long as you don’t send some stranger money or something similar, you won’t suffer any financial damage.
If you have met someone through a social network or some other place on the Internet who urges you to continue communication on Hangouts, be wary.
Does your chat partner need to travel to Africa for work or family reasons or an inheritance? If so, this is fraud in most cases.
Does your chat partner want money for a visa, plane ticket or other things? Then it is 99% fraud – this also applies to women from Russia that you met on the Internet.
Never disclose personal data and details about yourself.
If you have done that anyway and someone wants to send you a package, then refuse it. It is fraud because you are supposed to pay fees for it.
If someone offers to transfer money to your account for you to forward, decline. It is fraud and you may become a financial agent.
Does someone threaten to kill themselves if you don’t help them? This is one of the methods used by marriage swindlers to get other people’s money.
If someone wants to send you a check from abroad to cash and immediately forward the money to others, which is fraud.
If someone sends you his/her ID to prove that he/she is a real person and then asks for money, he/she is surely a fraud.
Follow this advice as a protective measure against online scams
- Do not send identification documents of yourself to strangers you only know from social media accounts. This is a serious violation of online security rules and could otherwise lead to identity theft.
- Avoid sending nude photos or intimate videos to people you know only from a photo and a chat and not in real life.
- Never send money to strangers you only know from social networking sites or a dating app.
- Don’t think a video call proves the man is real. Such a video chat can be faked.
Meet and Greet scam as a subtype of Google Hangouts scams
Did you meet a star on the Internet on Instagram or Facebook and write via Google Hangouts? Now he offers you a meet and greet for money or asks you to donate?
This is a trap because there is no meet and greet and in reality a scammer is writing on the other side. Sending money to the alleged star or his agent you met online is very unwise. Do not do that.
Instagram has become a popular platform for meet and greet scams and romance scams. And after a short time, all scammers want to switch to Google Hangouts.
Do you want to know the truth about your chat partner?
If you want to know if you are writing with a real person or a scammer, we will find out for you. Our work costs some money, but it saves you from a big financial and emotional damage. Many other victims wish they had taken advice from us before paying to the scammer.
Google hangouts scams happen daily all over the world. The scammers make a good living from it. So that you don’t become a victim, we will help you find out the truth for a small fee.
Get peace of mind: Contact us today