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Woman loses $15k in ‘sophisticated’ romance scam

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Woman loses $15k in ‘sophisticated’ romance scam

International fraudsters have been ripping millions of dollars off vulnerable Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, with romance scams in particular on the rise.

An Australian women lost about $15,000 after being scammed by someone she thought was Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

Karen, who chose for her real name to be kept private, told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett she fell in love and became victim to the sophisticated scam.

“Being in lockdown we are all a little bit lonely and a little bit vulnerable,” she said.

“I really thought he was the real person.

“I look back and say how stupid can I be.”

Karen eventually figured out she was being scammed after the man started to slip up on details.

“The more and more I questioned him, the angrier he got, the nastier he got, the more verbally abusive he got,” she said

“I was almost frightened to look at my phone to see if he had contacted me.”

Sophisticated operations have begun using new techniques to make their scams more believable, including using advanced software to fake video calls with victims, which happened in Karen’s case.

Executive chairman of International Fraud Watch Global, Ken Gamble, said there are few protections in place in Australia compared to other countries.

“They know that if they target Australians they can reap as much money as they want to, and they are really not going to have anyone coming after them.”

Click play to hear more on 6PR Mornings. 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.)

Liam Bartlett