We thought it was bad enough a woman lost a couple of million over the course of eight years in an elaborate online love scam. But the latest breaking story of another Hong Kong woman takes the cake with over US$23 million lost to another online scammer.
US$23 million lost over four years
Though previous cases might have dragged on for a longer period than this, this case definitely tops the list of the most money scammed from a single victim.
A 66-year-old businesswoman in Hong Kong’s has become the biggest victim of an online romance scam after being scammed HK$180 million (US$23 million) over the course of four years by a “British engineer”.
The woman from Wan Chai only realised the situation she was in after she had a conversation with her family, then subsequently contacted local police in August. The victim is a widow and runs a real estate investment company in the city.
The scam went on for four years
The scammer posed as a “British engineer” and had befriended her on online platform Lovestruck in April 2014. Police revealed that the couple had started their relationship four years ago.
“The fraudster claimed he had financial difficulties with his business, and asked the victim for money repeatedly between May 2014 and July this year,” police said in a statement.
She was then tricked into transferring money to bank accounts in Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Britain and Germany, in more than 200 transactions.
“The scammer claimed he needed money urgently for an engineering project, and he promised to pay it back after completion of the project,” a source from law enforcement said.
Throughout the duration of the relationship, the victim never met the man.
According to South China Morning Post, in the first six months of 2018 alone, 272 Hongkongers fell victim to scammers, losing a total of HK$137 million (US$17.45 million), compared to only 78 cases in the same period last year, involving only HK$36.4 million (US$4.64 million).
In fact, the whole of last year, police handled a total of 235 cases of online romance fraud, involving losses of HK$108 million (US$13.76 million).
Don’t fall victim to an online love scam such as this. Be wary and do not transfer money to strangers.
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