It’s heartbreaking to learn that someone you’ve become enamored with online isn’t into you, but it’s downright tragic to discover that person just made off with $450,000 of your money.
That’s right: A con artist collected nearly a half-million dollars in crypto from a Glen Rock, NJ resident who fell for an online romance scam.
You could call it missed fortune.
The victim met the imposter on Luxy, a dating app for millionaires — and those looking to meet them — that boasts of collecting “the most attractive and financially stable of dating applicants.”
Or, as the founders of the Hong Kong-based company put it: “Tinder minus the poor people.”
Applicants must be approved by at least 50% of the site’s voting members “on the basis of attractive appearance and wealth….You need to be both rich and attractive to be a part of this dating platform.
“No sugar babies or sugar daddies allowed.”
Glen Rock Police Chief Dean Ackermann said the local victim “was conned into sending money via cryptocurrency for a business investment.”
It became an investment in heartbreak.
“Most of these scams are perpetrated by individuals from foreign countries and out of the reach of US law enforcement,” the chief said. “Crypto investors currently have little to no protection in the market, as there is no regulatory framework in place to ensure the protection of assets.
“The public is warned that these scammers are masters at the art of manipulation and victims often do not suspect that they are falling victim until it is too late.”
One of Ackermann’s detectives earlier this year investigated a different scam, pulled off by a money launderer in Africa, that claimed four victims.
One woman agreed to “invest” $13,000 in the scammer’s purported business, the chief said. He then had the woman collect $18,000 in “investments” from what turned out to be three other victims, then convert it to cryptocurrency and forward it to him, Ackermann said.
One elderly victim lost $12,000 and was being targeted for other scams. The other two, both women, “admitted to receiving and sending large amounts of money in addition to their own funds,” the chief said.
LOOKIN’ FOR LOVE: Police Detective Sniffs Out Online Scam That Victimized Glen Rock Man, Others
Hopefully people learn about stranger danger from the other victims’ misfortune, Ackermann said.
“NEVER send funds, wire transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or any other type of monetary device to anyone that you do not personally know,” he said.
Someone you’ve met online but not in person isn’t someone you truly know, no matter how long the particular “friendship” has lasted, Ackermann said. Some victims are “groomed over months and even years” before the scammer springs the trap, he noted.
Anyone who thinks they may be a victim – or simply has questions about an online transaction – should call their local police department or detective bureau immediately, the chief said.
Police would much rather prevent someone from being scammer than be unable to do anything more than take a report after the victim’s money is already gone.
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