SINGAPORE – A mother of three was so in love with a man she met online she surrendered more than $200,000 worth of her insurance policies and divorced her husband.
The woman, 40, believed her lover, who claimed to be a military doctor from the United States, needed the funds to pay his hospital bills after claiming he had been shot by terrorists while on a mission in South Sudan.
Her husband discovered the affair and reported the money transfers to the police. But even when police officers told her she was being scammed, she refused to believe them until it was too late.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Aileen Yap from the police’s Anti-Scam Command talked about this case during a panel discussion during the Scaminar! ACT Against Scams event at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday.
The session was moderated by Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling.
Said DAC Yap: “She believed when (her lover) recovered, he would come to Singapore and take care of the three children with her.”
DAC Yap said they were two, nine and 12 years old.
Over three months, police officers tried to convince the woman, an accountant, that she was a victim of a love scam.
They immediately recognised the photographs the woman’s lover had sent, which he claimed were taken at a hospital, were heavily photoshopped.
DAC Yap said: “My officers spoke to her many times but she just did not believe us.”
The woman finally accepted the truth after she noticed the e-mails the hospital was sending her had originated from the same e-mail address her lover used.
Although police officers were unable to prevent the initial transfer of more than $200,000, they recovered $170,000 of the losses by freezing the bank accounts to which the woman sent the funds.
DAC Yap said: “She faced more than financial losses. Her husband said they were unable to reverse their relationship. The three children suffered and she borrowed from her friends and relatives. They might not get the money back.