A 66-year-old California woman fell for a scam by a man she met on dating website ChristianMingle.com, sending him $500,000 in a con later tracked to Nigeria. She was lucky to recover $200,000 of her money.
The woman met a man who claimed to be Irish national "David Holmes," who said he was in the oil business working on a rig. Using a profile photo taken from a modeling website, the scammer asked the woman for $300,000 for his business.
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After she sent him an additional $200,000, the woman became concerned and talked to police, who were able to track the Skype account and email to Nigeria, which San Jose Deputy DA Cherie Bourland called “a hotbed of online scams,” CBS San Francisco reported
In a very unusual instance, because money from such scams is rarely recovered, Bourland said they tracked $200,000 to a Turkish bank, which froze the funds and arrested a man who came in to withdraw them.
“When we heard someone had been arrested, our mouths dropped,” Bourland told CBS. “It was exciting.”
The man arrested was not the man pretending to be David Holmes, but was an associate of his, CBS said.
OnGuard Online, a project of the Federal Trade Commission about internet security
, gave some ideas for avoiding online money scams:
The site said to never wire money to:
• anyone who insists on wire transfers for payment
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• an online love interest who asks for money
• someone advertising an apartment or vacation rental online
• a potential employer or someone who is hiring you to be a mystery shopper
• someone who claims to be a relative or friend in need. They say they’re in a foreign hospital or jail, and they beg you not to tell the rest of the family.
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