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Woman conned by FB 'friend' claiming to be American: police

Woman conned by FB 'friend' claiming to be American: police

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) A Taiwanese woman working as a private tutor in Yilan County was swindled out of a large sum of money over the past few months by a Facebook friend claiming to be a U.S. national, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said Sunday, releasing a fraud warning for virtual communities. The woman surnamed Huang lost nearly NT$340,000 (US$10,464) in cash to the man, whom she said she became acquainted with on FB in August, the CIB said in a report. Calling himself "James from the United States," the "friend" had since early September began to find excuses to borrow money from her, such as being robbed, suffering from a shortage of money and being unable to use credit cards, the woman was cited as saying in the report. She would not discover the fraud until after the man claimed he was detained at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and she called the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia for verification, the report said. In October, there were 28 fraud cases involving "fake friending" for the purpose of swindling strangers on social networking websites, the CIB said. Around half of the cases were orchestrated by people disguised as foreign nationals, the bureau added, noting that in these cases, all the victims had been conned out of at least NT$100,000 in cash each. According to the CIB, such fraudsters were found to have stolen photos of attractive people before sending friend requests randomly on social networking websites in the pursuit of victims. As soon as a relationship was established, the scammers would ask for loans for various reasons, such an urgent need for money; and when their victims began suspecting the motive or asked for their money to be returned, the fraudsters would try to delay the repayment or simply disappear, the bureau said. Anyone suspecting that they have been the victim of a scam of this kind can dial the anti-fraud hotline at 165 for more information, the CIB said. (By Liu Chien-pan and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-17 11:17 GMT+08:00