Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Internet ‘love’ costly rip-off

14/Dec/2010

By Nicole Harrison

A PERTH widow has had to sell her Swan View investment property and her home and is now homeless after losing more than $600,000 to an elaborate internet scam.

The experience prompted a warning from Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll after the woman went online in search of a new partner.

She met a man who told her he was in Maine, US, and had business interests in West Africa. After chatting to him for a month, he convinced the woman to invest in an oil project in the Nigerian/Cameroon border area.

She transferred large amounts of money to bank accounts in Singapore and California and wire transfers through Western Union over a 12-month period after being lured by promises of a generous return for her investment.

The woman borrowed money against her two properties and from family and friends before realised she had been 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.

“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.”

WA Police will investigate the woman’s complaint further.

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December 24, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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