Australian Man Scammed Out Of $300,000 By Nigerian Woman In Romance Scam
An Australian businessman Paul Reed has been scammed out of $300,000 by Nigerian conmen in an elaborate romance scam.
Reed, 54, said he was approached by a woman on his LinkedIn account and only found out he was speaking to Nigerian fraudsters when police on a money laundering investigation told him.
“It sort of grew into a friendship and then it started getting a bit heavier,” Reed told 9News.
“They get you when you’re vulnerable. And when they find out what you’ve got, they’ll try and take everything, every single dollar.”
After establishing a friendship, the woman said she needed help from someone overseas to access millions of dollars in a bank account that was rightfully hers.
Reed said he was suspicious immediately but the woman video-called him and provided fake documents to back up the tale, according to Daily Mail.
He eventually agreed and the scammers were able to access his bank account, which they used to launder money.
“He was under the impression that the female he had been talking with on LinkedIn was in fact real until he was actually shown pictures of the potential suspects based in Nigeria,” Ian Wells from Queensland Police said.
Reed said though he was embarrassed, he was speaking out so that others don’t fall into the trap.
“If you’re looking for love try and find it the old-fashioned way,” Reed said.
He’s not alone with Australians losing a record three billion dollars to scammers last year, with the average victim forking out $20,000 for every con recorded by authorities.
Scammers pocketed at least $3.1 billion in 2022, according to the latest Targeting Scams report, an 80 per cent increase on total losses recorded from the year before.
‘Australians lost more money to scams than ever before in 2022, but the true cost of scams is much more than a dollar figure as they also cause emotional distress to victims, their families and businesses,’ Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Catriona Lowe said.
The report used data reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange, IDCARE and other government agencie
Scamwatch received 239,237 scam reports last year with financial losses totalling more than $569 million, a 76 per cent increase compared to losses reported in the previous year.
Average losses experienced by victims in 2022 rose by more than 50 per cent to almost $20,000.
The rise is due in part to scammers using increasingly sophisticated technology and techniques to lure and deceive victims.
‘We have seen alarming new tactics emerge which make scams incredibly difficult to detect,’ Ms Lowe said.
‘This includes everything from impersonating official phone numbers, email addresses and websites of legitimate organisations to scam texts that appear in the same conversation thread as genuine messages.’