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Woman scammed out of $270,000 - Don't let this happen to you

Woman scammed out of $270,000 - Don't let this happen to you
© Georgejmclittle | Dreamstime.com

The world has definitely seen some major changes over the last couple of decades. So many advancements in technology have materialized with the popularization of the internet. Smartphones, autonomous vehicles, and Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets just to name a few.

With all of the good things that come with these exciting innovations, also comes some bad things. For one, it's much easier for scammers to have a wider range of reach to find victims. You're not going to believe how this woman got taken for over a quarter of a million dollars.

One aspect of life that has drastically changed over the years is dating. Instead of going out and meeting someone in person, it's more common these days to find a partner through online dating. This can be a great experience, there have been numerous success stories and marriages that have come from this.

The bad news, online dating sometimes leads to horror stories. The "Today Show" recently reported on one of these nightmare scenarios.

Online dating gone bad

What happened was, 62-year-old Betty Davies who lives in Georgia, met a man on match.com who claimed to be a chemical engineer working a job in Malaysia. After only a couple weeks of chatting online, the man was supposedly set to fly to the U.S. to visit Davies over Christmas.

Before getting on the flight, the man told her that he was hit by a man on a bike and had his briefcase stolen. He told Davies that he needed to borrow $5,000 so he could make the trip. She said she was worried about wiring the money, but decided to do it because she really wanted to meet him in person.

The plan was, she would send the man the $5K, and once he got back to the U.S. he could go to his bank and withdraw the funds to repay her. That didn't happen. If fact, it got even worse.

The man told Davies that a problem came up with his job and she needed to send him $120,000, or he wouldn't be able to visit. He also sent her a copy of a fake work contract from the Malaysian government, trying to prove that he was good for the money.

So amazingly, she sent it. To no one's surprise, he never made it for Christmas.

The nightmare didn't end there. The man then told Davies that he was being held in a jail cell in Australia by immigration. He said the only way he'd be able to get to the U.S. to repay her was if she sent him more money.

Davies ended up sending him a total of $270,000. Her entire life savings, which she was never able to recover.

This type of scam isn't uncommon. The FBI said fraudsters normally target senior citizens looking to get back into the dating scene. American's lost nearly $120 million in online dating scams in just the first half of 2016.

Spotting an online dating scam

The Federal Trade Commission is trying to help people avoid these online dating scams. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Spelling and grammatical errors
  • Your match professes love too quickly
  • Claims to be from the U.S. but is traveling or working out of the country
  • Cancels a meeting or trip at the last minute
  • Asks for money

The last one, asks for money, is probably the most obvious sign of a scam. Match.com even has a clause in its user agreement that all clients must sign, vowing not to send other clients money.

Have you ever met anyone through online dating? Leave a comment and tell us your experience, good or bad.

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