She became suspicious, and with the help of her year-old son, found out online that a person with the same name had defrauded a woman in Gauteng of a large sum of money last year, using the same modus operandi. The divorced mother of three told News24 that she accepted his friend request on Facebook because she thought he was a friend of a relative.
He claimed he would be visiting SA for a year, was looking for friends, and wanted to know more about her. The message was riddled with bad grammar. The photos he sent painted a picture of a single dad with fancy cars, a decent house and a penchant for bikes and boat trips. One of the SMSes read like a poor pick-up line: This was despite her never acceding to his requests for a photo. She could not open a case because no crime had been committed.
She also phoned the police station in the area where the other woman was scammed, but either struggled to get through or was sent from pillar to post. Send us your stories Targeting professionals Glenda Paul, a director at IRS Forensic Investigations, told News24 that scam artists or syndicates targeted vulnerable women whose profiles indicated they had access to money or well-paying employment.
Her clients were professional women in well-paying positions. She said people often asked for their assistance because police officers at station level had a poor understanding of what cyber-crime and online dating were.
It had noticed an increase in these types of cases in the last two years, at a time when access to internet was increasing and South Africans were becoming increasingly internet savvy. Looking for love The Grabouw woman told News24 she had no idea why an individual or syndicate would have targeted her, but guessed they may have assumed she had a lucrative business because she was self-employed, or that she was looking for love because of her relationship status.
It's mostly schooling stuff, bible verses or arts stuff," she said with a laugh. The Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court was currently hearing three separate online dating matters, involving victims from around the globe. Two of the cases involved groups of six and eight accused respectively. A central theme was that syndicates allegedly created fake profiles on dating sites to build trust, before requesting money from victims for ostensible emergencies.
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