Internet scams are a horrible fact of life online, and the damage they do can have lasting effects for the victims. Unfortunately, the nature of internet crimes means that law enforcement can face serious obstacles when it comes to investigating and prosecuting internet scammers, many of whom can be operating from foreign locations literally anywhere in the world.
But for at least a few victims, justice has finally been served. Police have successfully arrested a man whose online “rap sheet” puts him as a dating scammer, check thief, and fake concert promoter. In a twisted geographic tale, the native of Ghana came to the US and lived in Maryland, then was arrested in New York but his activity affected victims in Pennsylvania, resulting in the prosecution in Pennsylvania courts.
Sigismond Segbefia was charged with multiple crimes that included bilking women out of money by pretending to be a deployed US serviceman, posing as an Australia businessman, and making a deal with a company by pretending to be a concert promoter. On that larger scale, Segbefia scammed a South Korean company when he took money to put on a concert by musical star Pharrell Williams for them.
As if his crimes weren’t horrible enough, one of the thief’s methods of meeting women online for the purpose of scamming them was to impersonate a US serviceman, whose picture he found on the internet. Segbefia assumed that individual’s identity and gained his victims’ trust, then claimed that his accounts had been frozen while he was deployed in order to entice the women to send him money. He was also originally charged with stealing a check for $23,000, altering it, then cashing it.
In all, Segbefia is believed to have scammed about $1.2 million from his victims, many of whom he met on dating websites like ChristianMingle and Match.com. After his two-year jail sentence, handed down by a judge this past week, he will be required to pay $1 million restitution to his victims and then willingly be deported.
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.