Alessandro Cinquini, a 30-year-old cruise ship employee, has become the victim of the very global imposters who have used his social media photographs in romance schemes across the world. He born in Italy and now living in Miami, told that his Instagram account was “permanently disabled” in November while the rogue accounts used by imposters are still active.
I’m not a fan of social media anymore, Cinquini, aka Alex The Officer, he told. “Scammers are using my own photos to get money from people. I feel like I’m attacked, to be honest.”
Last year, Cinquini joined a local news outlet to launch a personal campaign exposing romance scams. He says his photos are used in various social media dating sites linked to names like Alex Sampson, Alex Sailor and Alex Lorenzo.
The FTC reported in 2022 that nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam with losses of “a staggering $1.3 billion.”
However, it should be noted that many people are embarrassed to report being victims of these scams, so the actual losses may be much higher than reported.
Tara Reed, acting special agent in charge for the Tampa IRS field office, said in the scams, the victim is contacted “out of the blue,” sometimes on social media platforms, dating sites or platforms like WhatsApp.
“The pictures that you’ve developed emotional attachment to is not the person you’re communicating with,” Reed warned.
Reed said over the last two years the IRS investigative unit has reviewed thousands of complaints of what the agency has dubbed “Pig Butchering.”
“Pig Butchering is a terrible term,” Reed said. “But it’s basically the concept of fattening a pig before slaughter.”
That “fattening” comes through a promise of love or even marriage, then the imposter claims a financial emergency and the victim wants to help.
“We find that the most vulnerable population is middle-aged to elderly individuals,” Reed explained.
Reed said the average loss can range from a few thousand dollars to life savings.
Cinquini’s images have been used to dupe woman from the U.S, India and Czech Republic out of thousands of dollars in the name of romance. Cinquini wants to lend his story to Florida Congressman Darren Soto in his push to develop federal law to protect reputations tainted by social media imposters and posts.
“It’s probably something that’s going to be bigger over time, Cinquini said, “I can be an ambassador, at least to do something good about it.”
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