Woman Gives Nigerian Scammer $500k After Meeting Him On ChristianMingle.com
from the scamboozled dept
Maybe it’s my natural level of skepticism, which generally hovers somewhere between extreme and nuclear levels, or perhaps I’ve simply never spent much time reading any emails or communications I get from sources I don’t recognize, but I’ve never understood how people fall for “Nigerian Prince” style schemes, often to the tune of sums of money that are nearly unfathomable to me. Yet, in one iteration or another, these things continue to take advantage of people.
I don’t know that I’ve ever come across these types of foreign scammers trolling dating sites, however. But that’s what one story suggests has happened, with a 66-year-old woman getting bilked out of half a million dollars by a Nigerian scammer that found her on ChristianMingle.com.
The 66-year-old victim, whose name wasn’t released, was targeted on ChristianMingle.com by a man who called her, texted her and sent her flowers before asking her to loan him money to run a business. The impostor used a bogus picture and created a fake website, where he listed the victim’s name as a company official, investigators said.
The woman, who is divorced, gave him money from her retirement account and refinanced her home, most recently wiring $200,000 to a Turkish bank account at his request late last year, authorities said. But she soon realized she had been conned and called Santa Clara County prosecutors, who contacted the bank, said Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard.
I suppose it feels a little unsporting to bash a divorced woman in her sixties just trying to find a new Christian soul mate, but what the hell? A hundred dollar loan? Fine. Five hundred? Okay. A thousand dollars? Well, I’m already getting a little itchy. Half-a-mil-do? No, I’d rather die cold and alone than wire someone I’ve never met in person that much money.
Happily, at least some amount of justice was done in this case, where typically there might be none to have at all.
When Wisdom Onokpite, an associate of the suspect, showed up the next day in hopes of withdrawing the money, the bank notified the Turkish National Police, who arrested him. Onokpite, a Nigerian national who entered Turkey using a fake passport, is being prosecuted for fraud in Turkey, authorities said.
This isn’t “the guy”, who has been tracked to somewhere in Nigeria (of course), but it’s nice that at least an associate was nabbed. For everyone else out there, a good rule of thumb is to not wire that much money to someone you’ve never met, no matter whether they’re promising you money in return or to love you for the rest of your life.