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She hooked me,’ senior citizen, 75, says – the convincing messages that convinced him to send $750k in life savings | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


A SENIOR who believed he found his soul mate online lost over $700,000 in less than two months.

The 75-year-old professional who has not been identified, was approached on LinkedIn on May 31, 2023, by a young woman who praised his profile.

A senior citizen lost over $700,000 in less than two months after falling for a pig butchering scam (stock image)Credit: Getty

Unbeknown to him, this would be the beginning of a months-long conversation that would cost him his marriage, his money, and almost his life, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Through thousands of Whatsapp messages, the woman who claimed she lived in San Francisco worked through the stages of a pig butchering scam.

The man was urged to install an investment app called Fuex that had helped the woman and her uncle make huge sums of money.

As their conversations progressed, the senior told the woman who identified herself as Violaine Chen that he had a decent retirement fund but still worked.

He added that he had a partner of 40 years but that recently they had drifted.

Violaine claimed she was 37 years old and had moved to the US from China after a divorce that left her distrusting of men and lonely.

The woman and her victim had brief phone calls and one video call to make her investment advice and their blossoming relationship believable.

“She hooked me,” the man told the WSJ.

In just two days of messaging, the senior had invested money in gold futures on Fuex after Violaine claimed she could help tell him when he could make the most money.

With technology not being his strong suit, the victim was taken through each step of adding money to his digital wallet and making investments.

‘It’s got to be a mistake,’ cries Wells Fargo customer after watching $30,000 drained from account & bank couldn’t help

Violaine even told him that if the bank questioned his actions, he should say that the money was going to a friend.

On June 2, his first deposit was made of $1,500 that went to an account in Hong Kong.

After “hooking” the 75-year-old, the scammer continued to build her relationship with him by upping the romance side and suggesting that they invest together so he could leave his partner.

“We will be very happy in the future, maybe because I had a few glasses of red wine with my friend, that’s why I say this, but I really thank god for letting me meet you,” one message from Violaine said.

“I love you very much. I also thank God for having us come together in such an usual way,” the victim replied.

“I really believe we are meant for each other. I couldn’t have found a more perfect woman than you. I am the luckiest man on earth to find you.”

Violaine had him believe they were planning a Californian road trip to start their new life together.

“Honey, we can slowly plan all this and refine many details of our trip, but first we need to do it next week to raise funds to make a profit and buy an RV,” she told the senior.

AI ROMANCE SCAMS – BEWARE!

Watch out for criminals using AI chatbots to hoodwink you…

The U.S. Sun recently revealed the dangers of AI romance scam bots – here’s what you need to know:

AI chatbots are being used to scam people looking for romance online. These chatbots are designed to mimic human conversation and can be difficult to spot.

However, there are some warning signs that can help you identify them.

For example, if the chatbot responds too quickly and with generic answers, it’s likely not a real person.

Another clue is if the chatbot tries to move the conversation off the dating platform and onto a different app or website.

Additionally, if the chatbot asks for personal information or money, it’s definitely a scam.

It’s important to stay vigilant and use caution when interacting with strangers online, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Be skeptical of anyone who seems too perfect or too eager to move the relationship forward.

By being aware of these warning signs, you can protect yourself from falling victim to AI chatbot scams.

“My first step of our plan is to take our romantic steps.”

After making money on his initial deposit, the senior suggested making another.

While he proposed going in with $5,000, Violaine urged him to do more so he put in a further $15,000 and went to the bank to increase his transfer limit from $25,000 as instructed by the scammer.

“The bank thinks I am being scammed,” the man told Violaine after they told him that it sounded like a scam and urged him not to make any more transfers.

Despite warnings from bank staff, the senior continued to follow Violaine’s instructions and further trusted her after testing a $100 withdrawal from the app which he later received.

Even the messages from Violaine that seemed to be copied straight from the internet and those that made no sense were explained away by her Chinese background with English being her second language.

The deposits made by the senior increased in size and frequency with Violaine urging him to invest a further $200,000.

After telling her he had $25,000 to hand and more cash in stocks and bonds, he ended up selling $130,000 in stocks and then made up the rest with mutual funds.

To ensure that the man continued funneling his money into the fraudulent trading site, Violaine said she had booked a flight to come and see him.

However, this was canceled at the last minute due to an alleged job she had to do for her uncle in Argentina.

Despite his disappointment, by mid-July, the senior had made another three deposits to an account in Hanoi totaling over $300,000.

The app showed him that Violaine was making equal or similar investments meaning that together he believed they had invested around $1.5 million.

To finish off the scam, Violaine said that her uncle wanted her to buy a house in Los Angeles with the senior citizen and that he should withdraw half of their funds from the app to use as a downpayment.

She claimed that once back in the US she would sort out paying back her part of the bill.

However, when he tried to withdraw $700,000 from the account, scammers blocked the action and pretended to be from the customer service department.

Cyber expert’s advice on spotting a romance scam

A cyber expert with knowledge of romance scams spoke to The U.S. Sun and warned users of red flags to look out for. Roger Grimes, a defense evangelist at cyber-firm KnowBe4, listed 8 main questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the person trying to move you off the dating site to an unmonitored app?
  • Are they asking lots of questions before revealing info about themselves? This could be a bid to establish common ground and build trust.
  • Are they avoiding phone calls and video chats and coming up with excuses?
  • Do they say they travel a lot or that they’re not in the same country? This is often a lucrative part of the scam as they will need money.
  • Have they said they are traveling on a certain day and something unforeseen happens, so they need money to get there?
  • Do they ask for deep, dark secrets, or incriminating or nude photos? This could be used for blackmail further down the line.
  • Have they said they have been scammed before? This is sometimes a ploy to build trust and convince you that they’re not a scammer.
  • Do they have a sob story? Like their spouse died suddenly or left unfairly? Or they’ve been left with kids or massive bills to pay?

Read more here.

When he was told by customer service to pay $640,000 to unfreeze his account and approve the withdrawal request, the senior started realizing he may have made a grave mistake.

After searching the Feux FX6 app online and seeing comments about it being a scam, he reached out to Violaine.

“Please help me believe otherwise because right now I am sitting here with a broken heart and no retirement money,” he said in a WhatsApp message.

“Soul mates do not let this happen.”

“Please don’t break my heart,” he later added after admitting he had no more money to unlock the account.

“I have no more money. I’m broke and have no one to ask,” he said.

Violaine offered to pay instead but she could not do it all so he scraped together $155,000 from remaining investments and got out a $45,000 loan.

This is when the scammers took the opportunity to ensure that they had bled the senior dry.

He was told that a clerical error with the account meant he owed $212,000 which he got by accessing his home equity loan without the knowledge of his partner.

Then late fees and a “risk fund amount” were tacked on and in less than two months, the senior had paid $716,212 into the Fuex account which he would never see again.

“Do me a favor and just shoot me. I have nothing to live for. No money, no family, and no soul mate,” he told Violaine.

“I take responsibility for investing in a woman who hated me and just wanted my money.

“I spilled my heart to you every day and got nothing in return.”

The senior ended up reporting the scam to the FBI in August though no update in its status can be provided after it was handed over to the relevant authorities.

I have nothing to live for. No money, no family, and no soul mate.

Scam victim

The fraudulent trading app has been delisted and the website has been removed.

Despite realizing that he had been scammed, the senior continued to message Violaine even after she stopped replying.

“Sweetie I am worried now that I wasted my retirement funds on this,” one message said.

“Please reply as I want to continue my faith in you…I need to talk to you..I tried calling you but no answer…are you there?

“I miss you,’ he said.

The victim even started to believe that Violaine was a victim of human trafficking and was forced to deceive him.

The conversation stopped in mid-September and now he wants to warn others about the scam as he tries to rebuild his life.

Cyber fraud prosecutor Erin West warned that fraudulent trading sites like Fuex are used by scammers to funnel billions of dollars into shell companies.

“We’re talking about billions and billions and billions of dollars being expertly moved in a manner that we can’t catch it,” West told WSJ.

“They will take every penny you have.”

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