SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Often scammers set up a fake profile and move fast, but their main goal isn’t getting into a relationship with you, it’s getting your money. However, as some local women found out, sometimes the person is real, but everything they tell you is fake.
There are several different kinds of romance scams out there. Some involve catfishing and use of a fake profile.
Another twist is when the new love interest asks you to receive money for them and then wire it overseas. That scam involves stolen money and the victim becomes a money mule, committing the crime of money laundering and wire fraud.
However, the scam KELOLAND Investigates has uncovered, isn’t nearly as sophisticated, but just as devious.
“I think people can pretend to be whoever they want to be. They can present themselves whatever way they want to on dating apps in general,” Sarah said.
“Somehow he would manipulate you into thinking everything he said was the truth. Somehow he could look you dead in the eye and lie to you, over and over and over,” Ashley said.
Two different women, neither who wanted to show their face on camera, but both victims of this man who they met online. His name is Matthew Nelson.
“I don’t know who he truly is. I don’t know if I will ever know who he truly is. I think he is somebody who takes advantage of people in a time of weakness and has become really, really smart at doing that,” Sarah said.
KELOLAND Investigates looked into Nelson’s criminal history and discovered that even after getting caught, he continued to commit the same kinds of crimes, from theft to forgery to fraud.
“There’s the potential these websites offer those offenders and those serial offenders, a host of opportunities to go out and manipulate and defraud people,” Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said.
You may have heard about The Tinder Swindler, but Nelson also liked to use Bumble to target his victims. These relationships didn’t last long, but the victims were robbed, not only of their possessions but also of their trust in others. How Nelson got away with it and the truth about the Bumble Bandit tonight at 10.