Scammers target lonely

When a recently divorced Edmonton woman met a gorgeous younger man on an Internet dating site, an overwhelming sense of flattery veiled any suspicion he was capable of breaking her heart and draining her bank account.

When a recently divorced Edmonton woman met a gorgeous younger man on an Internet dating site, an overwhelming sense of flattery veiled any suspicion he was capable of breaking her heart and draining her bank account.

The shamed victim, who does not want to be identified, joins a list of vulnerable area women conned out of almost $300,000 in the past few months by Nigerian scammers trol­ling popular dating websites.

“They don’t tell you bad stuff — they tell you good stuff, and that’s what everyone wants to hear,” she said yesterday.

The man she fell for claimed to be a wealthy American businessman, dealing in antiques in Nigeria. She ended up sending him thousands, after his he claimed his son was in a terrible car accident, underwent three surgeries, and eventually died.

She said that while, at first, she refused to give him money, his insistence and promises they’d meet in person, combined with inescapable loneliness was enough to mask any possible foreshadowing.

“It feels like an addiction after a while,” she said. “You begin to love that person and believe them, no matter what they say. You just keep doing it, and it’s very hard to stop.”

Though police have received a number of complaints about the “highly sophisticated” scam, there’s little hope of catching the crooks or recovering any cash.

“They know how to cover their tracks,” said EPS economic crimes Det. Mark Johnson, who added though it’s certain her money was collected in Nigeria, it’s impossible to tell by whom.

 
 
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