An elderly woman was targeted by someone she met online, and she’s out of $100,000.
Naples Police Department is investigating after a woman trusted someone who made false promises to her.
Naples police say a man told the woman he had millions, and once he was able to bring the money home, he would pay her back. It turns out even the victim’s neighbors have had similar experiences.
Neighbor Lynda Jo Holmgren has experienced similar requests to the victim.
“He was really wealthy,” Lynda Jo Holmgren explained. “He was from Colorado.”
After her husband died, Holmgren turned to the web to find love.
“When you get to be my age, you want what you want,” Holmgren said. “I’m waiting for the prince on the white horse to show up.”
But after online dating for the last 10 years, Holmgren knows it’s not always a prince at the other keyboard.
“People have asked me, ‘Oh, I lost my wallet, and I’m in Nigeria, and I’m in a prison,” Holmgren said.
Holmgren said, similar to her neighbor, she has been asked to send up to $500,000 during previous online dating interactions.
Investigators have seen a rise in internet crimes during the pandemic.
Holmgren’s neighbor fell victim. The elderly woman told Naples police a man she met online tricked her into sending him $100,000, money the woman will probably never get back, said Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security Specialist.
“What they typically do is try to get you to go off that website, off that dating site and contact them directly using text, chat, another method,” Kolko said.
The woman told police the man would only contact her through email and texts. It stopped after she told him she had used up her entire life savings and couldn’t afford to send more.
Kolko says crooks typically avoid phone conversations and often use fake pictures that can sometimes be found by doing a reverse search online. He also doesn’t recommend ever giving your money to someone you’ve only spoke to online.
“I’ve had my feelings hurt before, and you just have to back away and get your big girl pants on and say, ‘You’re not doing this,’” Holmgren said.