Monday, 21 May 2018

Love Does Not Equal Money

Scammers take advantage of lonely women in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a lot of lonely women. Part of it is statistically there are more women than men (in 2016 there were 3.96 million women, 3.37 million men), and also men prefer women who are younger, or may go across the mainland to find their mate.

That leaves some women in Hong Kong desperate to find someone and con artists are taking advantage of these lonely souls.

There have been 119 women duped by online romance scammers out of HK$75.9 million (US$967,000) in the first three months of this year, five times the amount of the same period last year.

They con Hong Kong women out of millions of dollars
The latest victim? A woman in her 40s who works in a financial institution and was swindled out of HK$14 million in a so-called online romance that lasted eight years, the longest scam recorded so far.

She first "met" the man in August 2010 in an online dating profile, where he claimed to be a white male and a film director. After befriending her for three months, he started to ask her for money, claiming he was detained by Malaysian authorities for being caught carrying £300,000 in breach of the country's laws.

He began by asking her to transfer HK$10,000 and then used various excuses to get her to give him more money. In the end she made a staggering 200 to 300 transactions in amounts ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Throughout the eight years, she never met him in person.

It wasn't until the victim talked to her family about getting more money (she had already spent her savings and borrowed some) that she realized she was duped and called the police.

These shadowy figures can hardly be found again
Official police data shows 93 percent of the victims in the first quarter this year were women, almost 12 percent of them professionals. More than 80 percent of them were between the ages of 31 and 60.

How lonely and desperate do you have to be to willing to part with your money? It's very sad to hear of yet another case of a women being cheated out of her hard-earned money, but this only motivates scammers to continue to focus on women here.

It also shows how warped their sense of what love is -- that it is closely tied to money. Another observation is that so many of these scams have been reported in the media and yet these women don't wonder if their so-called relationships are real. Maybe it's denial...

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