Investment scams have been popping up on dating and chat sites, with one man losing NT$4 million (US$127,971) after falling for someone he met online, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) warned yesterday.
A businessman surnamed Wang (?), 53, was befriended by an unknown woman on Facebook, bureau officials said, adding that the married Taipei resident began conversing with her daily after becoming enamored with her beautiful photograph.
“It was love at first sight with you,” she reportedly wrote to Wang. “I prefer a mature man with broad social experience.”
Wang continued the online relationship, believing it was true love, the officials said.
The woman told Wang that she worked in the Hong Kong financial sector and that she earned good money making foreign currency trades online, the officials said, adding that Wang wired an initial US$10,000 investment before he received small incremental profits that persuaded him to transfer more.
Wang withdrew the last of his bank savings, which he wired to the woman, only to receive a message from her a few days later that the trades were duds and all the money was lost, they said.
Wang tried to contact her, but when she disappeared, he realized that it was a scam and that he had lost NT$4 million, his entire life savings, they added.
Love traps designed to defraud people of money have been on the rise, with a 30 percent increase from 2017 to last year, the officials said, adding that many cases involved female scam artists claiming to work in Hong Kong or Macau as traders, bankers or lottery executives.
The scams are typically run on dating or chat sites, where the scammers befriend adults romantically, talk of easy profits and disappear after receiving a large sum of money, they said.
Officials warned the public to be careful on social media, saying that that the scam can entrap lonely women equally well.