The ocean can be a fickle mistress.
A woman in Delaware was recently scammed out of her money by a man claiming to be a cruise ship captain, after he allegedly courted the woman online and then promised to marry her.
The “captain” reportedly vanished once he got the cash.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Delaware released information about the scam on its Twitter account, keeping the victim’s details anonymous, but writing that the scammer went by the name “Captain James Rockwell.”
“Daily scam,” the BBB of Delaware wrote in its post. “A Camden, DE woman was victim of a romance scam, met a man online claiming to be a cruise ship cap’n. The scammer promised love, then asked for $$$, promising they’d soon be wed. The money was sent, and it — and Captain James Rockwell — vanished.”
Along with the post, the BBB of Delaware shared a photo of a MoneyGram receipt that revealed the scam played out in September. Apparently, the victim sent $500 through Walmart2World, an international wire transfer service.
In a statement obtained by WMDT, the BBB of Delaware elaborated: “Captain James Rockwell uses his title and position to attract women to obtain money…Using his appearance to pretend to be deeply in love with them.”
“Con artists create compelling backstories, and full-fledged identities, then trick you into falling for someone who doesn’t even exist,” the BBB continued. “This form of deception is known as ‘catfishing.’ Sometimes a catfisher is simply a lonely person hiding behind a fake persona. But often it is the first step in a phishing scheme to steal personal information or a romance scam to trick you out of money.”
The BBB of Deleware also urged Twitter users to “warn others” of “Captain James Rockwell” and his cruise ship romantic pursuits.
A spokesperson for the BBB of Delaware told Fox News, “I really worry about these hands-on scams” as opposed to more well-known email scams. He confirmed that the scammer spent several weeks getting to know the victim before asking for money.
He also said that people need to be much more careful these days when it comes to these scams, as the red flags are harder to notice. It goes beyond just looking for bad grammar and outrageous claims.
He confirmed that anytime someone asks for payment to be made through wire transfer or gift cards, that should cause some concern (although, he did point out that there are times when wire transfers are a perfectly legitimate way to send money).
“The best way to educate people is through the news,” he concluded, “but the second-highest way people report being educated about scams is through word of mouth.”