Would you give US$20,000 to a man you’ve never met?
A 45-year-old Taiwanese woman did after falling for his good looks and regretted it.
The man posted a photo of a former television executive on his Facebook page and proceeded to swindle the woman out of US$20,000 during a whirlwind online affair.
The mother of two, surnamed Cao, said she was smitten by the man who introduced himself as Lin Dan in a Facebook message in November.
He said he was a manager in Haitong International Securities for VIP clients.
Cao said she was attracted to his Facebook photo which later turned out to be that of James Shing, former executive director of Asia Television Ltd. (ATV).
Cao and Lin soon began an online romance, calling each other “hubby” and “wifey”, according to Apple Daily.
After persuading her to divorce her husband, Lin lost no time putting his scheme to work.
He convinced Cao to invest US$20,000 in the Hong Kong stock market, saying she could make US$100,000 for every US$10,000.
On Jan. 10, a man claiming to be the president of Hai Tong told her she had made US$1.21 million and to pay a HK$188,000 (US$24,253) administration fee before the money could be released, she said.
Cao became suspicious when the man told her the fee could not be deducted from the proceeds of her investment.
She began making inquiries about Lin.
She found that Hai Tong Securities has no such employee and the Securities and Futures Commission, the industry regulator, has no record of him.
When Cao showed her Facebook page and a copy of Lin’s Hong Kong ID to her Hong Kong friends, she was told the man in the picture is James Shing.
Lin had made everything look authentic by inviting Cao to Hong Kong in December.
He canceled before she could leave Taiwan, saying he was going to be on a busines trip.
On Jan. 4, he invited her again only to beg off again due to another business trip but told her he had an insider tip about a certain stock that could make her rich.
It was then that she agreed to wire US$20,000 to Lin’s designated bank account.
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