#romancescams | Sweetheart swindle fraud victim loses thousands | The Daily Courier

Over the last three months, a 68-year-old quad-city area resident sent tens of thousands of dollars to someone she believed to be a genuine love interest in distress, only to later find out it was a romance scam.

The victim reported meeting a man on ‘Catholic Singles’ online in March of 2020, according to a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) news release.

The man identified himself at ‘Philip Copeland,’ a self-employed architect from Los Angeles.

The victim told YCSO deputies she conversed with Copeland through email, texts and telephone conversations.

Copeland eventually told the victim he had gone to Africa to do charity work, got stuck in the country and needed money, the release states. The victim complied and wired money on several occasions.

Copeland later contacted the victim after “leaving Africa” and claimed he was currently in London where he was being detained for possession of a gold bar, the release states. Copeland again needed money to “get out of his predicament.” The victim sent additional monies.

On June 23, the victim went to a bank in Chino Valley to obtain more money when she was approached by a bank employee who suggested she was being scammed. The victim then called the YCSO. The victim lost approximately $31,000 over the course of the scam.

“First, the Sheriff’s Office was very pleased to learn a bank employee intervened in this ongoing fraud,” YCSO spokesperson Dwight D’Evelyn said. “There are times where bank employees, store clerks, etc., may be the only contact who can convince fraud victims to at least re-think what they are doing and call law enforcement.”

D’Evelyn said this particular scam is very common and has been ongoing for years. He suggests people review information about the scam by going to the following link:

www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/02/romance-scams-will-cost-you.

There is also a short video which concisely explains how it works – https://vimeo.com/352056075.

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