A married shop assistant in Singapore has professed to almost falling for the wiles of a love scammer who posed as a doctor.
She nearly lost $2,000 after the scammer wooed her, promising her love as well as an Hermes handbag, 8world reported on Saturday (Dec 2).
The shop assistant, who declined to be named, works at a local clothing store and first met the scammer through a chat app in September.
At the time, the scammer was operating under the guise of a 'Juan Franklin'. He claimed to be a doctor from Australia who is in his 40s and single, appealing to the woman with his good looks and apparent wealth.
In their correspondence, the 'doctor' constantly sent messages to the shop assistant, checking on her wellbeing and showing concern for her.
He also claimed that the woman was the only one whom he could speak honestly with, and that she was "special" to him.
Despite being married, her heart wavered when he ultimately 'confessed his feelings' for her, 8world reported. The woman had shared that she did not have a good relationship with her husband.
The scammer claimed that he did not mind that she was married and said he would fly over to Singapore to meet her in December.
As an expression of his sincerity, the scammer told the woman he had bought her a bag as a gift, sending her a video of an alleged Hermes store assistant with gloved hands opening a box and pulling out an expensive luxury bag.
When she found out that the bag costs over $30,000, the assistant was elated — not due to the price tag, but by what it represented, reported 8world.
"He said the bag is perfect for me, because I deserve the best and most expensive bag," she told 8world, expressing her joy at the time of finding someone who valued her that much.
Fake doctor, false love
Prior to their scheduled meetup, Franklin said that he had sent his luggage over to the woman on Oct 31, requesting that she store it at her home first.
A few days later, however, he suddenly messaged her, incensed.
According to him, his luggage was detained at a Malaysian checkpoint and required a $2,000 fee to be released.
He sent screenshots of the alleged email he received — but the email roused her suspicions.
She reached out to the 8world reporter for advice and was warned that the case appeared to be a textbook example of a love scam.
The reporter also pointed out that the pictures of 'Franklin', although of a real person, were actually of Love Island UK dating show contestant, Alex George.
Although in disbelief initially, it was only then that she realised that she had almost fallen victim to a love scam.
Despite having saved herself the pain of losing $2,000, the woman is still heartbroken from the experience, 8world reported.
$334.5 million lost to scams in 2023
From January to June 2023, the number of scam and cybercrime cases increased to 24,525 cases, according to a report released by the police in September. Of these, over 90 per cent of them were scams.
This represented a 69.4 per cent increase compared to 14,481 cases in the same period in 2022.
The total amount lost to scams according to the report was $334.5 million this year, the police stated.
Members of the public are advised not to receive or send money to or from people they do not know well or have not met in person.
Additionally, they ought to contact the police if they receive a message or call from someone claiming to be in trouble overseas and in urgent need of money, or if anyone attempts to extort money from them.