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How A Tax Accountant Was Swindled Out Of $100k


On 9 March 2021, Rachel* – a tax accountant in Auckland
– matched with “Wu Haoyu” on Hinge. By 10 June, and
one elaborate crypto-scam later, Rachel’s savings account
was $100k lighter.

The scam that Rachel fell victim to
is relatively new to Aotearoa – appearing for the
first-time last year. Called a “hybrid scam”, this grift
uses a combination of romance and investment to target
millennials and can be incredibly effective at extracting
huge sums of money.

In light of Fraud Awareness Week,
the Consume This podcast explores how this dangerous
new scam operates and how it targets unsuspecting
victims.

“There’s a perception that scams are
reserved for the elderly or those who are totally gullible.
In New Zealand, the largest reported losses are from those
in the 30 to 45 year old age bracket. We can expect for more
New Zealanders to be targeted in the same way as Rachel,”
Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said.

“There are
certain behaviours to be aware of when on dating sites. This
includes conversation being moved off dating platforms to
text messaging, being sent links to ‘investment’ sites and
encouragement to dabble in investing for fun.”

Rachel
and Haoyu matched and soon moved their chat to WhatsApp.
Scammers do this to avoid losing their targets, as dating
apps have algorithms that are designed to pick up scam
trends and actively remove scam profiles.

They chatted
at length with Haoyu mentioning he was into bitcoin trading,
but weeks passed before he persuaded Rachel to try trading
for herself. Haoyu sent her a link to his trading app.
Unfortunately, it was all a lie. This large-scale scam
included everything from a fake Forex mirror app to customer
service reps that answered every question Rachel
had.

Her investments began small, but Rachel rapidly
found she was in over her head.

In a matter of weeks,
she’d sunk $100k into what she had perceived was a
legitimate investment platform – but then found she was
unable to withdraw her funds.

It quickly dawned on
Rachel that she’d been scammed. Despite “feeling
stupid” for falling for this bogus scheme, she was happy
to share her story on the Consume This podcast to
help warn off other potential scam victims.

“This new
dating scam involves many moving parts. The scammers take
their time to build trust, there are fake investment sites,
call centres and elaborate identities created. For example,
‘Haoyu’ had over 100 fake contacts on LinkedIn, one of
which verified to Rachel that he was legitimate,” Duffy
said.

“If you’re concerned that you’ve been
scammed, cease communication with the suspected scammer
immediately. If you’ve transferred money – alert your bank
and report it to the police and Financial Markets
Authority,” Duffy said.

Rachel shares her story in
episode four of the Consume This podcast, brought to
you by Consumer
NZ.

© Scoop Media

 



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