Man Sends $200,000 To His Fake Facebook Girlfriend (SMH!)
Just when people started to come around to the idea that they could not—and would not—become multimillionaires by winning a lottery online or helping a Nigerian prince to transport money into the U.S., a new online scam has apparently popped up and claimed one of its first victims. It seems crazy (because, well, it is crazy!) but a man from Illinois was recently duped out of $200,000 by someone posing as his girlfriend on Facebook. And the crazier part is that it wasn’t actually the first time he’d sent her money, either. He’d also wired smaller amounts of cash to bank accounts in the U.S., England, Malaysia and—yes—even Nigeria over the course of the last two months.
In fact, the only reason he actually caught on to the whole scam is because he went to police in Illinois after he did not hear from the “woman” for several days and feared she had been kidnapped in London. After doing some very light investigative work, police concluded that the man’s Facebook girlfriend was nothing more than a fraud. And the ID that she had provided to him when he asked for it prior to wiring the $200K? Well, that was a fraudulent document as well. Surprise, surprise.
So, how can you avoid getting defrauded out of thousands of dollars like this man? For starters, DON’T SEND MONEY TO PEOPLE YOU MEET OVER THE INTERNET. It sounds so simple, yet every year, thousands of people do it. They literally give away their money or fall for scams that seem so painfully obvious once they find out the truth. If you are thinking about sending money to someone, run the idea by someone else first. There’s a good chance a fresh perspective might help you sort things out and understand them more clearly. But, above all, realize that scams like this exist and that people who will dupe you out of your hard-earned money are out there.
It’s too late for this poor guy. But before a Facebook fraud finds you and tries to dig into your pockets, understand that scams like this one are literally one of the oldest tricks in the book. So if that person on the other side of a friend request doesn’t look familiar, hit “Deny” and keep it moving. It could be one of the best—and most cost-efficient—decisions you’ve ever made.
Basically, say hello to the Internet’s new online scam. And then say no to it.