Grannies duped by ‘boyfriend’ scam

2015-04-30 14:50

Police have issued a stern warning after two elderly women from Diep River were duped by an internet scam.

According to a report from Diep River police, the two women were conned into believing young, rich, handsome men from the UK were on their way to meet them.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Keith Chandler says in both cases the women met the men on the internet.

“The men are young and send fake pictures of themselves. They claim to be millionaires living in the UK and also claim to have fallen in love with the elderly women,” he explains.

Chandler says the men claim to be so in love they want to come to South Africa to meet with the women but allege their bank accounts are frozen.

“They send fake bank accounts to make the story more believable. In both of these cases the women then agreed to pay for their plane tickets. The money is deposited into a Capitec account and the men never arrive,” he says.

In one of the two cases an elderly woman forked out more than R12 000 for her boyfriend.

Chandler says a similar case involving a 49-year-old woman has also been reported at the station.

He warns residents to ensure their elderly relatives are safe when using the internet and are not sending money to people they have not met.

“In these cases, the complainants want to open fraud cases but cannot do so because the money was not taken illegally. They gave it voluntary,” he says.

Associated Seniors coordinator Ursula Schenker says the scamming of pensioners is a concern. She believes they are targeted by thieves because they are vulnerable and says these cases are sensitive and difficult to tackle.

“Many elderly people are using the internet. When someone has lost a spouse they are often lonely and this is a difficult time for them,” she says.

Schenker has appealed to residents who have elderly loved ones to keep a close eye on their online activities and to help ensure they are not taken advantage of.

“Even this can be a difficult situation as elderly folk don’t want their children checking up on them. So we have to use subtle ways of ensuring their safety online,” she adds

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