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Singapore man duped out of NT$644,000 by influencer 'girlfriend' in Taiwan

Streamer conned at least 5 fans into sending cash as part of their 'romantic relationship'

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Chen and Lin holding up police reports. (Facebook, 原来是这样 new 保护人民 photo)

Chen and Lin holding up police reports. (Facebook, 原来是这样 new 保护人民 photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Singaporean man alleges he was tricked into gifting NT$644,000 (US$21,658) to a Taiwan-based Malaysian influencer, who conned a number of male victims in multiple countries.

A 41-year-old Singaporean man surnamed Chen (陳) told Zaobao that he had begun following the influencer about a year or two ago. It was not until November last year that she opened up her Instagram for direct interactions with fans.

Chen said that he started out by sending her a simple greeting at the beginning of this year and received a reply on Jan 14. According to Chen, the two soon began exchanging messages almost every day.

He said that she would also send selfies, and he felt that their "relationship" was growing closer. She then became the host of a live-streaming program and invited Chen to support her online.

She claimed that her company had asked her to collect 100 "full of love gifts." If she did not meet this quota, she claimed she would not be able to continue as the host of the show and asked him to send about S$50 (US$36) as a "small gift."

The live broadcast ran from Monday through Friday and its audience grew from 100 to over 2,400. Chen recalled that "We chatted all the time and even spent S$2,500 on gifts for her on the live broadcast."

He then believed that they had "confirmed their relationship" on March 1, and the streamer sent him a long letter to express her feelings for him. "From that day onward, the 14th of every month was Valentine's Day, and she would ask me to send gifts," said Chen.

Chen said that if the gifts he sent during her live-streaming episodes were not as good as other fans, she would "get emotional." He soon found himself sending S$2,500 on numerous occasions, eventually totaling S$30,000 (NT$644,416).

However, he eventually noticed that there was something amiss, and her messages were incoherent. At one point, Chen wrote that he could no longer afford to continue to send her such expensive gifts, to which she responded:

One my home is your home, am I not worth that much to you? Am I so bad? I also know that I'm not your next of kin, and you may not think it is worthwhile, but to me, in my heart, you are the most special, do you know? I want to become better, and I also want everyone to know that we accomplished this together."

He eventually compared notes with a 32-year-old fan surnamed Lin (林) and found that she had been sending them identical messages at the exact same time. Lin, who had been tricked out of S$3,000, joined Chen in reporting the scam to local police.

Chen told the news site that there are currently five fans who are believed to have been victimized by the same scam, three in Singapore, one in Malaysia, and one in South Korea.