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NewsRomance Scam Warning

Romance Scam Warning

Last week, a Sydney mother was sentenced to three and half years behind bars for swindling more than $2 million from seven victims who she had met through dating services.

Sanaa Derbas last year pleaded guilty to 11 fraud-related offences after tricking the seven victims into lending her money which she used to fund her gambling and cocaine habits, and to build a house.

Between 2008 and 2014, the Sydney mother of four told the men she had a wealthy Egyptian grandfather but in order to receive his wire transfers she needed money for taxes, bank charges and solicitor’s fees.

Using a series of aliases, 15 phones and online dating services, she spun a web of lies which left one man with just $20 in his bank account and another unable to pay for his children’s school fees.

Derbas told one man her young son had died of swine flu, while she requested money from others to pay for her dead mother’s funeral.

Judge Paul Conlon said “The victims were all simple men who lost sums of money that was, of course, significant to them.”

Small comfort to the men involved that they saw their perpetrator jailed for her crimes… that brings us to Jan Marshall.

Jan met “Eamon” who claimed to be a British civil engineer living in the US. Pretty soon Jan was being “bombed with love” as she says with email and text messages several times a day. Eventually Jan thought she could spend the rest of her life with “Eamon”.

By the time she realised she had been conned, she had sent $250,000 to him, including money she had illegally withdrawn from her Self Managed Super Fund. Adding insult to injury, the ATO is asking her to pay back around $70,000 for removing the money from her SMSF.

Delia Rickard is the Deputy Chair of the ACCC and when we spoke to her recently on the Daily Drive Radio Show, she told us that it’s usually women who are conned with so-called “dating scams” and the 45-54 age demographic is most affected.

Scamwatch is reporting that more than $1.3 million has been lost in January 2017 alone.

If you have been scammed, Jan has set up a support group called romancescamsurvivor.org and you can hear Jan’s heart-wrenching interview here.

 

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Doug
Doug from NSW commented:

If you think that you will never be scammed then the scammer has already won. They prey on all kinds of people. As soon as you enter their world they know you are looking for something or you would not be there. Some very sound advice is to never part with your money that you have never met in person. People who think they can use online checks to discover the true identity of the person they are communicating with are just fooling themselves. If you are genuinely thinking of parting with money then employ the services of http://www.wymoo.com. This is an international investigation team who have investigators around the world who will provide you with detailed information about the person you are communicating with. It is private and confidential. It may cost you a few dollars but it is better than losing thousands of dollars to a scammer who claims they are someone and are not. This can apply to investments or business deals. Best advice is never part with your hard earned money to anyone you personally have never met in person. Scams also come in different forms other than dating. Refer to other sites for information about scams such as http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ and http://www.scamwarners.com/. You can report a scam to ACCC but do not think that you will get any money back from reporting the scam. Once the money has been sent overseas then it is gone. Even if you use legitimate means of money transfer using bank accounts it is still gone. I am talking from a position of being personally scammed. 

Gerry
Gerry from VIC commented:

Do any of these people ever check the photos of these internet scammers on Google Images? I usually weed them out by that method, plus there are many other tell-tale signs ... 

Joanne
Joanne from VIC commented:

I'm sorry, but the internet has a lot to answer for, so many people have been hurt with all this ON LINE crap. ( Face book is a real good one ) It can screw up people's mines & the way they live. If you have sit to on the p/c look up a good club you can join & meet people that way in the flesh. If you want to play with fire expect to get burnt & don't complain about it. Too many people complain about how dumb they are. Me I wouldn't tell anyone I would be too ashamed of what I have done 

Anonymous
Anonymous from VIC commented:

I was scammed of my savings a mere $28,000 and a new laptop from an online romance website and these guys from gang are good!! They really "reel" you in, but not only did I have added insult to injury but the police treated me so badly when I went into my local police station to report it, I was called an idiot for sending the money and it was all my own fault they refused to take the report then I was told to report it to the federal police and they refused to take a report also!!! I was told my amount was small that I lost and that lots of people get ripped off everyday through this manner and a lot worse some people loosing $100,000+ so I should just learn from the experience and get the local police to take the report and was promptly hung up on! So who's out there to report this to as no-one wants to know or take a report about this terrible "scurge" in our society, who take advantage of the lonely? 

Joanne
Joanne from VIC commented:

I agree with the police 

Anonymous
Anonymous from WA commented:

I once dated a man who thought that he could move in with me and I soon set him straight and he did not hang around. Some men and women think they can take advantage of the opposite sex as they think you are desperate, I was not that desperate and eventually made it clear what I wanted and never ever gave any money and if I was asked they would of got nothing. 

Lynette
Lynette from NSW commented:

I feel so sorry for them. It must be awful to be so desperate and lonely that you'll believe people like that. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from WA replied to Lynette:

I don't think you know what it is like to be lonely, if you did you would not leave a comment like you have to this lady. 

Lynette
Lynette from NSW commented:

Dear Anonymous from WA, I apologise if my comment upset you, but my comment wasn't directed at that lady, it was directed at another comment which has since been removed. I would never disparage anyone. And yes, I do know what it's like to be lonely. I have lived on my own for 24 years, and if I had a dollar for every time I've cried myself to sleep at night or wondered if it's worth going on, I'd be rich. 

Joanne
Joanne from VIC replied to Lynette:

Now I am feeling sorry for you Lynette, If I lived in NSW, I would make you my friend & you would not be lonely. But you know your 24 years could have been worst if you meet the wrong man. 

Lynette
Lynette from NSW replied to Joanne:

Absolutely, Joanne, absolutely :-) 

Anonymous
Anonymous from WA replied to Lynette:

Lynette I am glad you told me why you said that so thanks for explaining to me. I too have been on my own a long time and felt the same way and it is lonely sometimes, but now I have excepted it and try not to dwell on about being on my own. I did join a dating agency and kissed my money goodbye years ago as I thought I would find someone that wanted to meet someone that was a big con too and that is what these people will do they are con artists and they reel these poor individuals in and surely they could hear the bells and whistles when they kept asking for money, it is very sad and how they get away with it is another thing. I have met so many other women that are on their own and still hoping to meet someone my attitude is if it is meant to be then you will meet that person they could be in the supermarket etc we never know. 

Joanne
Joanne from VIC commented:

No one has to be lonely, they just have to get off their backside & make an effort, not sit on a machine all day, & call that living. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from WA replied to Joanne:

We don't know how these people are feeling they may lack confidence and that someone is paying them attention is part of how these people work. Sometimes when a person is lonely they could be badly depressed and they can't get off their backside. 

Joanne
Joanne from VIC commented:

I'm sorry, if you have to be Anonymous, and cannot put a name to what you print, then you will always be at the back of the crowd. Be up front, say what you feel, show people you are real, and only then you will be noticed, and only then you will get confidence in yourself, and loose your depression Good Luck, 

Anonymous
Anonymous from WA replied to Joanne:

If you read properly why, I was just saying about these people not me. If you knew about depression you would not write what you have. I could say I was Joe who cares about some ones name. 

Joanne
Joanne from VIC commented:

Oh! Well Joe, you obviously know a lot more about depression than I do, so we will leave it at that. Again good luck. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from NSW commented:

Reminds me of the story of a man (or woman, as suits) with experience met a man (or woman, as suits) with money. The man (or woman, as suits) with the experience left with the money and the man (or woman, as suits) with the money left with an experience ! 

Felicity
Felicity from NSW commented:

Never ever part with money, if people are genuine they will not ask for money. Felicity NSW 

Dale
Dale from VIC commented:

Cannot believe how blatantly stupid some people are If it looks like a dog, smells like a dog and barks like a dog , it probably is and it will bite Have no sympathy for outright dumbness 

Lynette
Lynette from NSW replied to Dale:

Oh how very compassionate of you. 

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