Moncton woman warning others after being swindled out of over $40,000
A Moncton woman is sharing her story after being victimized by an online scam that saw her lose tens of thousands of dollars.
The woman, whose identity isn’t being revealed by CTV News for safety reasons, says she started an online friendship with a man back in May. Four weeks into it, he asked her for money.
“I'm a very soft-hearted person so I did send him $500 US,” she says.“That's how it started.”
The woman says the fraudster claimed to be a United States army general based in Nigeria, and that he needed to get money to his son who was attending private school back in the States.
The largest amount sent at one time was $3,000.
“His excuse for him not being able to do it was that he was on the army base and that he had no way of getting money for anything for himself or for his son,” the woman says.
The Moncton woman says she began borrowing money from different lending agencies. She did this for seven months before realizing she'd been scammed.
“I stopped sending him money in October but at that time it had reached over the $31,000 US mark.”
That's roughly $41,000 Canadian. The victim later lost her job as an in-home caregiver after asking a client for money to send to the scammer.
“His daughter went to the company telling them I had asked and he had given me that and they dismissed me immediately,” she said. “I knew it was wrong but my head was just in a different situation then.”
Eventually, police became involved.
“Often (con artists) will ask to send cash or a money order and cash is untraceable. You cannot retrace cash,” said Sgt. Andre Pepin of Codiac Regional RCMP.
On top of the $41,000 she sent to the scammer, the victim is now $4,000 behind on cellphone and power bills. She was to be evicted from her apartment on Saturday, but local charity Big Hearts Small City stepped in to help out.
“We paid her December's rent and her January's rent to give her some flexibility to get back on her feet again,” said Jason Surette of the organization.
The victim only receives old age security and Canada pension. The woman says the mountain of debt seems insurmountable.
“It's just totally ruined me. Financially, emotionally – everything.”
She hopes others see her story and avoid falling victim to a similar scam.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.