Is this the stupidest woman in New Zealand?
She agreed to tell her story to stop other lonely Kiwis falling victim and said her nightmare began when she created a profile on match.com on March 12.
Soon after she received a message from a man claiming to be an orphan widower with no family. He replied: “I want to develop a friendship that will hopefully turn into something meaningful and lasting.”
For two weeks he phoned her up to three times a day, chatted online and quickly told her he loved her.
The man said he was an American-born geologist who lived in New Zealand but was overseas on business.
“It was like a cloud of love, attention and affection that had engulfed me,” the woman said. “I left myself wide open, I was in love.”
So far so good. Nothing wrong with Internet dating or even falling in love.
On March 26, he told her he was bringing millions of dollars-worth of gemstones back to New Zealand but said the documents verifying them as genuine had been stolen.
He asked for $5000 to cover the cost of replacing the documents and the next day said he needed $7000 more.
At this stage warning bells should have not just been ringing, but very loudly. If someone you have never met wants $5,000 that should tell you what their motive is.
On March 30, he said he needed extra money to get home, and wanted to buy the woman a Gucci bag as a thank you. He sent a link for the bags so she could choose a colour.
Over the next two months he requested various amounts, the largest being $320,000 which he needed to get his passport back from Hong Kong Customs. He told her he had been pulled up on his way back to New Zealand and asked why he didn’t have paperwork for the gems.
I’m sorry but there is no excuse for anyone who does that. How can anyone think a passport retrieval costs $320,000 – let alone agree to send that amount of money to someone they never ever met. The scam wasn’t even a very clever one. I would expect most ten year olds to be more saavy with their money.
Her children are “devastated” and “angry” but police told her no crime had been committed “because I willingly gave the money”.
Sad, but true – it was not stolen – she gave it way. Mind you I would have thought there might be some fraud involved in his representations.
Senior Sergeant Dave Glossop said the woman is intelligent and it shows almost anyone can be sucked in. He said the amount was astounding and should be a big warning to others to be wary of cyber-predators.
I’m sorry but she is not intelligent. Or if she is, only in the most narrow academic definition. I mean she sent $680,000 to a man she hadnever met. Now sure I can understand someone being conned say $5,000 to fly their Internet lover over, but to just hand over $680,000 – mind staggering.
This isn’t actually a cyber-scam story. The cyber was incidential. It is just an old fashioned con.