The Herald reports:
Jim told Linda he was worried about his safety in Lebanon, where there was a “risk foreign workers can be kidnapped”, and asked her to be his next of kin.
Linda later said these were all tactics Jim used to “lure me into his web of deception”.
“I was led to believe that this person, who I had met through an acquaintance, was genuine and had good moral standards.”
She was given Jim’s account details at what was described as a Scottish investment bank.
After contacting the “bank” and proceeding through security checks, Linda was named as a co-signer of Jim’s account.
Up until there, all fine.
The bank asked her to make an initial deposit of US$15,000 ($21,780), before a second payment of US$45,000 ($65,350) was required for a Bank of America account in San Diego.
This is the point at which huge alarm bells should have gone off. You do not need to deposit money to be a co-signer, let alone $15,000.
Growing increasingly brazen, the scammer(s), via the investment bank, further asked Linda to pay an fee of US$85,000 ($123,430) to receive an “anti-terrorist clearance certificate” and cover wire transfers of more than US$5 million ($7.25m).
Linda didn’t pay the fee, but a few days later Jim raised the issue of helping him with a personal loan of $US10,000 ($14,500) for a Kuala Lumpur-based building supplier.
She loaned the money, after which Jim said he’d made a mistake and required a further US$40,000 ($58,000), which Linda paid.
I really don’t understand how someone can be so gullible they would transfer tens of thousands of dollars to someone they have never met.
Jim claimed his Beirut construction project had developed problems, and he had to pay income tax to the Lebanese Government.
He asked and received for a further US$50,000.
“Of course I was very reluctant to make further loan payments. Then he told me about the kidnapping of a foreign worker from a construction site next to his,” she said.
In total, Linda forked out more than $300,000.