An Edmonton man says he was scammed out of $143,000 when he sent money to a fraudster who claimed to have seen his dating profile.
According to Edmonton Police, Con was in the hospital when he first received a message from a single mom who said she was a United States citizen on an overseas contract as a computer civil engineer.
The woman and Con would chat for months, but eventually she claimed her camera on her phone was broken and she couldn’t afford the $600 to fix it. Con denied her request and she stopped contacting him.
After a few months, they started talking again and she asked Con for some money. “She said she was relying on me to get her and her son to the States,” Con said. He sent her $100, but that wasn’t enough, so again, she stopped talking with him.
Almost a year later, the two spoke again and the woman asked if he still loved her. She told him she was laid off and needed help. Con told the woman to go to the US embassy, but she admitted that it was an illegal work contract and needed $1,500 to get home. Con paid.
Shortly after, the woman said her son was diagnosed with malaria. And after that, she claimed they were in a collision and had hospital bills and even provided x-rays. She told Con that she had money back home, but needed help paying the hospital bills in order to be released from the hospital.
To help prove her case, she sent a picture of her bank accounts, but claimed she couldn’t access them overseas.
When it was already too late, one of the banks interfered and the Edmonton Police Service investigated Con’s case. In total, he was out of $143,000.
Con said he sent the money due to, “hope that it would be real. Having her and her kid. Money isn’t important. This is; having someone else in the house besides me.”
Detective Linda Herczeg called the incident “heartbreaking”.
“…these scammers are taking someone’s desire for happiness and using it against them,” she said. “They commit all of their time into these scams because it’s their job and it’s lucrative.”
Edmonton police are warning the public about romance scams. In 2018, 11 incidents of romance scams resulted in a total loss of $1,115,219.74.
Some of the signs someone may be a scammer include, asking you for money, their profile images are stolen off the internet, there will be little if any voice or video communication, and they will always have an excuse for not being able to meet.
Do you know anyone who has ever been scammed like this? Let us know in the comments.
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