Woman Drops $500K in ChristianMingle Scam

Man behind the computer wasn't the hunky UK citizen he appeared to be

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 17, 2014 2:00 PM CST

(Newser) – This dating scam didn't just break hearts, it broke the bank, too: A San Jose woman, 66, was conned out of $500,000 on ChristianMingle.com after a Nigerian man, pretending to be UK citizen "David Holmes," befriended her on the site. After several phone calls, texts, and even a bouquet of flowers, the woman agreed to give "David" a $300,000 loan for his supposed oil business. She refinanced her home and dug into her retirement account to fork over the funds—but it wasn't enough. He asked for $200,000 more, which the woman wired to a bank in Turkey, before she caught on and alerted authorities, CBS News reports.

When a Nigerian associate of the man turned up to withdraw the money—he'd entered Turkey using a fake passport, the San Fransisco Chronicle reports—he was arrested on suspicion of committing fraud, and the woman got her $200,000 back. The rest of her money is "just impossible to track down," the deputy district attorney says. The man behind the scam remains free, but his Skype account and email address were traced to Nigeria, which is "a hot bed of online scams," she notes. As for the man's profile picture? It was a snapshot of a male model he'd picked up on the web. "You get the love drug in you and you end up getting duped," the deputy district attorney adds.

  (Shutterstock)
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