One of the victims of an online dating scam is speaking out, saying she was duped out of her entire life savings by a man preying on women looking for love.
The man pretends to be a Chase bank employee and gains his victims’ trust with lengthy exchanges of texts, pictures and e-mails.
Since we first reported the story Monday, police say they are investigating new cases.
The 30-year-old victim from Queens doesn’t want her name used, but she traveled to a Chase branch in Mount Vernon on June 12 to meet the suspect, who used the name Angel and who she met on the site Plenty of Fish. He told her he worked for Chase and modeled on the side, and he claimed he would earn a vacation if she filled out a survey. But when she got there, a woman in Chase shirt came out instead and had her fill out paperwork.
She admits there were red flags, but she filled out the paperwork anyway. And that information was then used to steal more than $10,000 of her money.
“My whole life savings is gone,” she said. “Everything is gone. It’s traumatic.”
The money had been withdrawn within minutes, and Angel’s phone was disconnected.
At least five women in our area have fallen victim to the same scam, prompting police in Tuckahoe, Mount Vernon and Tarrytown to launch an investigation.
“He seemed like a businessman,” the victim said. “He did sound like he worked for Chase. He was good at how he spoke to me. He knew how to talk to me.”
As for Plenty of Fish, the company does list safety tips online and told Eyewitness News in a statement, “We advise our users to exercise caution when getting to know someone new, whether it’s on a dating app, through an acquaintance, or any other social setting.”
Police say if you plan on opening a bank account, do it inside the bank, not the parking lot. Also, never provide your Social Security number, banking information or cash to a stranger. Lastly, follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
If someone you meet on a dating site is inquiring about your bank account or personal finances, use caution and be aware this may be a scam.