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‘Reformed scammer’ provides insight on Black Friday scams, romance scams, and more

Last year Washington lost $240 million to online scams.

KIRO 7′s Jesse Jones spoke to a “reformed scammer.” He told us why you might be more vulnerable this week and what to watch for.

Chris Maxwell is a self-proclaimed “reformed scammer,” who lives in Abuja, Nigeria.

Abuja is an international hub for scams.

“Nigeria is a big, very big place, for scamming. People just scamming because the economy is very bad,” said Maxwell.

Maxwell is one of thousands of scammers targeting Americans.

“I am not justifying the fact, but people have reason for doing this. The economy is so bad, it is extremely bad,” he said.

Maxwell said the easiest and most lucrative scam to pull off is the romance military scam.

“I look for people that are divorced. That is more vulnerable, you know, when they divorce they need someone to love,” he said.

Maxwell had a fake social media account claiming to be an American soldier stationed overseas. He said he became reformed after he felt guilty for scamming an American woman out of $50,000.

“At the point where she was very, very sick I felt guilty, if someone was doing this to my mom, would I be pleased?” he said.

“Maxwell now consults for Social Catfish, a company dedicated to preventing online scams through reverse search technology.”

Maxwell is warning Americans about Black Friday scams.

He said scammers will be preying on those looking for deep discounts and will be offering deals on fake websites that will steal your credit card information.

“They wanted to be greedy. They wanted to see it as a big opportunity. So you just have to be very careful,” he said.

Jesse Jones said the big thing about romance and other scams, is that scammers want the victims to be isolated. They’ll want to take conversations off social media.

In most online scams there’s an ask for money that’s created around an emergency. The demands for money then grow. Black Friday isn’t always about shopping. It’s also a time when people get lonely and need to feel wanted.