Mackay man scammed $40k by elaborate online ‘romance’

AN EAST Mackay man in his 30s has been scammed of $30,000-$40,000 through an online romance.

Mackay District Crime Prevention Unit Senior Constable Steve Smith said it was unlikely the man would ever see his money again.

"He has been involved in online communications with a person claiming to be a female from South Africa for up to four years," he said.

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"The story is that he met this person, claiming to be a female, on an online dating site and then they moved from that online dating forum to other communication methods and have maintained contact in that fashion.

"They generated a bond quite quickly... which is the way these things work, then the requests for money obviously commence, some subtle and some direct, which he met and felt obligated to meet."

Snr Const Smith is urging people to be aware of the dangers of giving money to people they meet online and to stay vigilant.

"We've spoken with the victim and been able to show him how these romance scams work and he was able to immediately identify similarities with his situation to the way that these people do business," he said.

"I personally think it will be very, very difficult for him to just immediately stop communication - it's so entrenched in his day-to-day activities."


Warning signs of online scamming

  •  You meet someone on an internet dating website and the picture looks different to their description
  •  They profess strong feelings quickly
  •  They tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/ credit card details
  •  Emails and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct if money is not given quickly
  •  Emails are poorly written, vague or contain information taken from news articles, repeats itself, addresses you by the wrong name, or is not personally addressed at all