Albany woman loses $23,000 to online romance scam

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

An Albany woman has warned users of online dating websites and apps to be vigilant after falling victim to a romance scam, losing almost $25,000 through a popular dating website.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, had developed the relationship with the man who had claimed to be ex-US military.

According to the Department of Commerce (Consumer Protection), the woman was lured by the man to send him money.

The 54-year-old woman, who spoke to The Extra this week, said she began sending amounts of between $1500 and $3000 on the promise it would be repaid once he received his millions of dollars from the US military.

The money was sent for more than 12 months via Western Union to addresses in countries including France, Nigeria, Turkey and Australia.

The victim said she had sent an estimated $23,000 and, despite her relatives convincing her it was a scam, she continued to send money until only recently.

“I sold my car to get out of this predicament and I nearly lost my house and basically everything,” she said. “I was just so lonely and had no one to talk to so that’s why I did it. He was just so convincing.”

Just last week, it was revealed an Albany man had been caught up in a global money-laundering scam after developing an online relationship with a woman on video messenger app Hangouts.

The local victim said she had learnt her lesson.

“You have just got to be so careful and if they ask for money, just delete them,” she said.

“That’s what got me into trouble — they were just so convincing.”

To report a scam, email wascam net@commerce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

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