Finding true love in this chaotic world entails a lot, especially in an era where scammers are all over dating apps looking for gullible men and women to scam off their hard-earned money. You got to be vigilant when dealing with people on dating apps.
According to the DM, a single mom named Christine Settingsgaard got scammed of $85K by one Nigerian fraudster named William Ujo, who posed as widower Mark Godfrey on Hinge.
Here are the details of the encounter;
A single mother in Illinois was duped out of $85,000 by a scammer who posed as a Greek bachelor on a dating app after he strung her along with lovey text messages, emails and phone calls.
Christine Settingsgaard, 37, met ‘Mark Godfrey,’ a supposed architectural engineer from Greece, on the dating app Hinge and quickly became infatuated by the widower father-of-one who said he was working in the US.
Mark used pictures of an unknown man with brown hair and a gleaming smile to trick Settingsgaard along with messages vowing his love for her and planning vacations.
There’s no suggestion the man pictured is in any way implied in the scam perpetuated against Settingsgaard, who is a successful executive.
He successfully tricked her out of $85,000 by forwarding a check for that amount to Settingsgaard, then asking her to wire the cash to his sibling.
But Settingsgaard fell victim to a quirk which often sees banks make the cash available to the recipient of the check before it has cleared.
That meant Mark’s sister ‘Kelsey’ was able to withdraw the cash before the check bounced, meaning Settingsgaard had lost her live savings.
She faced being made homeless – until the Chicago Tribune reported the story, and her bank returned $82,000.
In one message, Mark told her ‘I picked a vacation spot for when I’m back… All I need is you.’ The statements of love worked, said Settingsgaard. She told DailyMail.com the situation ‘consumed’ her for months and left her ‘publicly embarrassed.’
She said the ordeal left her ‘penniless,’ and if it weren’t for friends, neighbors and her parents, she ‘doesn’t know’ what she would have done, as she could no longer pay for her groceries or mortgage.
‘My six-year-old son wanted to go to football camp this summer, and the most heartbreaking thing was having to tell him he can’t go to the camp because I got scammed,’ she said.
After six weeks of talking, Mark asked Settingsgaard for help transferring some money to his sister and daughter, who he said lived in Utah.
He asked Settingsgaard to transfer his ‘sister,’ Kelsey, $500 using Paypal. She promptly did so, and Mark paid the money back, further gaining her trust.
Mark then told her he earned $85,000 from a job in Houston, but couldn’t access his bank to send the money to his sister. He also claimed he was worried the IRS were monitoring his account.
He said he would mail Settingsgaard a check for the amount, and all she had to do was deposit the money and then wire the funds to his sister, which made it seem like she would not have to touch any of her own money.
But the scam is predicated on the fact that some banks don’t verify if the account the money is sent from have the funds before making them available to whoever is cashing the check.
This means that Settingsgaard saw she had the $85,000 in her account the next day, and sent it to Mark’s sister. He even told her she could keep $3,000 of the money as a show of good faith.
Despite that, she was uncomfortable with the situation and messaged him ‘I’m tired and don’t understand and feel like I’m about to get arrested for money laundering or something.’
‘No babe lol. No money laundering, you won’t be arrested, I promise,’ the scammer responded. He made sure she deposited the check into an ATM rather than give it to a teller, which helps ensure the check will be deposited.
After that, the bank realized the check bounced, and billed her account for it, putting it at negative $84,334.
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