FORT MYERS, FL-- A Fort Myers woman hoping to find love online after her husband died finds herself getting duped out of $450,000 dollars. She logged on to a popular dating website and met what she thought was a perfect match, but she soon found out he was just after her wallet.
The woman says everything seemed legit and the man she met online sent her pictures, contracts for investments and even promissory notes. She even ran background checks on him and everything came back clean.
We are calling the woman "Sue" for her protection. Sue is a widow with children. Her husband died suddenly in a car accident nearly two years ago and in June of last year, she decided to create a profile on Match.com.
"I have known several people and actually have family members and things that have had successful relationships and even marriages from Match.com," said Sue.
It didn't take long for the 50 year old registered nurse to meet someone who seemed to have many things in common with her.
"He was also a widower, his wife was also killed in an accident," she said.
For the next six weeks she and the apparent builder from Texas spoke on the phone and texted every day. About 8 weeks in, sue says he told her someone broke in to his hotel in Ghana and stole all his electronics. He asked her to send him items and said he would pay her back and started telling stories about having no money and needing food.
"Things that if you have a heart that you would respond to," said sue.
And then came a business proposal hat she says seemed legit. It was to invest in the man's company that builds luxury condos overseas.
The first investment she sent was $100,000 and she continued to invest for months.
"I am probably in to him about $450,000 dollars," said Sue.
The $450,000 was mostly paid by credit cards and loans. Sue said she knew something was wrong when he stopped contacting her.
The Lee County Sheriff's office says these types of scammers have it down to a science.
"It is actually finding out about that person about where their weak spots are or where they are vulnerable," said LCSO's Stacey Payne.
"I am mad at myself. I cant believe I would fall for something like this," said Sue.
The Lee County Sheriffs office says victims of these types of overseas crimes rarely get their money back. The Secret Service has stepped in to investigate.