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They use psychology and play on an individual’s weaknesses and needs,” she said.There was no harm in meeting people online, she said, and possible to fall in love with someone via electronic communication.“I finally discovered he was from Ghana and reported my experience to the US-based Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams. Stacey said, although embarrassed at the deceit, she reported the incident to local police in the event that any of her details emerge in criminal activities.In another case, Esther, 73, (not her real name), also from Durban, said she had been propositioned by a man from the UK, on Facebook.Esther’s online relationship with the man continued for weeks, and he said he would soon be on his way to be with her and was sending a parcel to her with a laptop, cellphone, an engagement ring and lots of foreign money in advance of his arrival.“I was called and told that I had to pay a fee to release the parcel, about R5000.
Unfortunately, the wait at the airport for him to arrive turned into tears, as Stacey realised she had been scammed. I found out there is a wide syndicate that writes scripts for the stories they tell women, there’s fraudulent websites specially created for the scam and photos are staged,” she said.The internet and advances in digital communications have opened other ways for scammers to target you and steal information.Chances are, you’ve come across the most common type of scams – the spam email from a Nigerian prince or reporting to be from HMRC or your bank.“When he finally relented and agreed, an image of a man came up but there were problems with signal and audio,” she said.
The relationship continued for more than two months, and by now, he was on contract in Ghana and once his work was done, he wanted to fly to South Africa to be with her.At first I said I have no money, but he kept calling and so I deposited about R25000 via money transfer into his account in Ghana,” she said.