Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Australians still skittled by Nigerian scams

Hi . I at first couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this story. A conference was actually held on Nigerian scams in Australia. Can you imagine people gathering for the sole purpose of discussing scams?

Well, I guess you must be interested in the proceedings at the conference. here’s the news update I came across.

read on


Sydney – Australians had a giggle earlier this year when lovelorn sheep farmer Des Gregor flew back to Adelaide from west Africa without his luggage, his wallet and more depressingly without the ravishing young bride he had been promised over the internet. Mirth turned to incredulity when they learned that this had been 56-year-old Gregor’s second dose of intercontinental dating dismay. He had earlier returned from Russia without the promised sweetheart and with his money gone.

Speakers at Australia’s first national conference on Nigerian fraud tried to explain the naivety of blokes like Gregor who are shipping money to West Africa at the rate of 2.5 million Australian dollars (2 million US dollars) a month.

Inspector Brian Hay, head of the Queensland Police fraud and corporate crime unit, sees the human tragedy that begins with a reply to an email that often purports to come from a God-fearing banker in Lagos anxious to find a home for millions of dollars.

“We have had people lose businesses, lose their livelihood, commit crime, try to commit suicide,” Hay said. “There are lots of people in the community new to the internet, not knowing the dangers and the threats, going on line and all of a sudden being promised an opportunity that promises the world.”

It’s not just backwoodsmen like Gregor who get fleeced.

Queensland businessman Steven Baker swallowed his pride and admitted to losing 1.3 million Australian dollars (1 million US dollars) trying to get hold of a fictitious 20-million-dollar inheritance.

He flew to Europe three times to meet bogus government officials in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, and was even taken to a bank vault and shown a suitcase full of American dollars he was told was part of the pay-out.

“The professionalism of it is just unbelievable – the paperwork, the officials, going to government departments,” Baker said. “You would think if they were straight-out scammers they wouldn’t have access to government officials and places, and the paperwork with all the stamps.”

Hay explained that scammers play on the better part of our natures: we are naturally trusting, expect the best of people and believe that good things happen.

“Our kids grow up on legends and mythology and fairy tales,” Hay said. “We are conditioned to believe in things we can’t validate and can’t see.”

What also works in favour of the scammers is that there appears to be no victim. The money is there in the bank, the owner dead, and all that’s required is a bit of paperwork to release it and make everyone happy. There is no downside.

Hay explains that the email instantly brings a ray of hope that our dreams can come true.

“When you get emotion involved, logic goes out the window,” he said. “People get very excited. They don’t want to listen to the negatives, the bad things. They want to believe in the good things.”


November 8, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »


    Comment by angela | March 20, 2008 | Reply

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