Perth widow loses $600,000 to online dating scam

Perth widow loses $600,000 to online dating scam This happens a lot more than what we think.I watched a report on the news about this tonight. This was a very complex organised scam, fake bank accounts, fake share certificates, fake brochures etc. The only think you can do to avoid this these days is check in with the scamwatch authorities in each state.Everything can look so real anyone might believe it, let alone a widow just looking for a new life and love.  The awful thing is she has been conned for everything she had.

A PERTH widow has lost more than $600,000 in an elaborate romance scam involving overseas fraudsters, prompting the Commissioner for Consumer Protection to issue a formal warning.

The woman, who has two children aged 16 and 17, is now homeless, jobless, without a car and has filed for bankruptcy after meeting a man on a dating website, in November 2009.

Her husband died 11 years ago and she went online in search of a partner.

The man she met online told her that he was of Greek origin and living in Maine, USA, with business interests in West Africa.

The man then began calling his victim almost every day and, after chatting with her for a month, invited her to invest in an oil export project in the vicinity of the Nigerian/Cameroon border.

Over a 12-month period, she sent large amounts of money to bank accounts in Singapore and California as well as wire transfers through Western Union, lured by promises of a generous return on her investment.

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She was sent numerous fake documents and certificates supposedly from lawyers and accountants in the US and Nigeria to support their claims.  Plans for the man to visit Australia were cancelled at the last minute for a variety of reasons.

To finance this supposed business venture, the victim borrowed against her Redcliffe home and an investment property in Swan View, both of which she was eventually forced to sell.  She also borrowed money from family and friends before coming to the realisation that she had been thoroughly and professionally scammed.

“I was lonely and the kids are grown up now so I thought I could have a man to grow old with,” the woman said.  “It was like Christopher hypnotised me into a false sense of a dream of what could be possible.  I am back to reality now and I want my life and home back.”

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll warned other women who may be dealing with fraudsters on dating websites.

“Romance scams target vulnerable people and the fraudsters build up trust and use fake documents and websites to support their claims,” Ms Driscoll said.

“The person perpetrating this scam is a professional conman.  There is no sense of remorse as he has cold heartedly groomed his victim with regular telephone calls and promises that have convinced her to send money overseas.

“People searching for partners online should never entertain business propositions or send money to people they have never met in person or don’t know they can trust.  Protect your identity and personal details and don’t be blinded by love.  At the very least get some independent financial advice if you do not want to confide in family or friends.

“Consumer Protection receives numerous reports from victims of romance scams who have lost thousands of dollars and the emotional and financial effects from their experience are often quite devastating.”

The woman’s complaint to WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection has also been reported to the WA Police for further investigation.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has estimated that money lost by Australians in romance scams totalled $6.5 million in 2009.  In WA, it’s estimated romance fraud has cost almost $1 million so far this year, including this latest scam.

WA ScamNet has got more information and advice about romance scams


6 thoughts on “Perth widow loses $600,000 to online dating scam

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Perth widow loses $600,000 to online dating scam « Aussie Criminals and Crooks --

  2. It never ceases to astound me that there are such lonely and vulnerable people who are just so naive and uninformed that they are sucked into these crimes. No matter how persuasive the pleas or offers, I would never part with my hard earned, but thousands do.

    In 2003, at a funeral of all places, an acquaintance who was an Indian chap, and just an honest hard worker, mentioned to me and one of my daughters that he was going to get a lot of money from Nigeria into his bank account. On questioning him, he produced the usual ‘Nigerian letter’ as proof of the legitimacy of the transaction/s. On returning to our house with him, I immediately got the NAB (his Bank) on the phone. We managed to get his accounts closed immediately as he had already provided the account numbers to the scammers, and this was done BEFORE he had lost any money. Very inconvenient for him having to open new accounts, but if he had not mentioned it to us, he would have surely lost the lot. So it can happen very easily and swiftly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i had a man contact me in a similar way. he wanted to send me flowers to prove he was genuine in his affections for me, i was moving shortly so i gave him the address, he sent flowers, chocolates and a teddy bear, then asked if he could send me other gifts, he sent a camera and a projector which i had no idea why or any use for , he wanted to send me a new laptop and mobile phone, which i said no i have no use for , as i have good ones myself , he apparently tried to send more items and then i received a call from a guy telling me to expect my house to be raided as police were investigating me for receiving stolen goods, purchased by stolen credit cards from the USA and EUROPE well ive not even got a passport or left australia before so i took the items i had to the police station along with my laptop and printed all our converstations and printed copies of the photos he was sending me and gave them his mobile number, he told me he was australian but worked in Garna or some where like that in south africa, i was aware he was pulling some form of scam after he asked me to receive items and forward them to him , because apparently the company sending them wouldnt post directly to africa, the police investigated the situation and i was told i was innocent, which i already knew, BUT if you arent aware what goes on , you can get into alot of trouble by being naive, you need to be more aware of what goes on around you and if you arnt sure, ask the police if something sounds too good to you , it probably is too good, get it checked out

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As much as I feel sorry for this lady she was also very very silly
    Dating websites should have a warning like on packs of cigarettes
    ” joining dating websites can place you at risk if bankruptcy if your gullible and desperate
    You can invite scammers liars even recently releases murderers operating under the protection of the anonymity of the internet where people can lie and hide
    Go get a real life “


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