Woman accepts Facebook friend request, loses Dh2.1 million

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Woman accepts Facebook friend request, loses Dh2.1 million

Dubai - Verify details before accepting that friend request.

By Web Report

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Published: Wed 13 Sep 2017, 6:02 PM

Next time you get a friend request from a stranger on Facebook, don't forget to verify the details before accepting it. A fraudster might be trying to trap you.

It was too late for Martha (name changed) to realize her mistake of accepting a friend request without checking the credentials. By the time she did, it had cost the 61-year-old Australian $571,000 (Dh2.1 million).

When a person introduced himself as 'Dr Frank Harrison' and told her he was an orthopaedic surgeon from the US, Martha took it on face value. Little did she know then that she was getting snared by a fraudster.

The photo that 'Dr Harrison' used was actually of weight loss expert Dr Garth Davis. It never struck Martha that she should cross check the identity.

It all started in early November. 'Dr Harrison' told Martha that he was planning to move to Australia to start a business and expressed his desire to meet her.

Martha told news.com.au that she then got a phone call from 'Dr Harrison'.

She said: "He told me 'I'm at the airport in KL, I got in trouble'". I said 'What kind of trouble?' He said 'I carried $1.5 million dollars through customs. They think I'm carrying too much cash. I got big penalty. Please help me."

After a while, she received another call from a woman who made her believe that she worked for the customs department. Having been convinced by the two scammers, Martha shelled out a $3,000 'penalty fee' so that the rest of 'Dr Harrison's' money would be released.

It did not end here. The fraudsters forced her to pay more money with a series of excuses. Within six months, Martha had made 33 payments, losing $571,000 (Dh2.1 million).

When she finally got to know about her "big mistake", she was too scared to share it with her husband. But she eventually did.

Martha's husband told news.com.au that she was targeted for her naivety.

He said, "The scammers use Facebook information to pick their targets. They have a team that play different roles to manipulate the emotions of the victim."

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