Romance Scammers!

Two dating scammers were operating from Melkbosstrand.

Two dating scammers were operating from Melkbosstrand. Image: Facebook

They were out to rob the lonely elderly women they seduced online and they succeeded to the tune of R500 000. Now two Nigerians from Melkbosstrand are having to face the music. The men ( 27 and 28 years old ) were arrested on 23 March and are facing charges of fraud.

Police initially thought they were dealing only with drugs, but after taking into possession dagga, money and laptops they realised they had stumbled onto an international 419 romance or dating scam.

Lying Lotharios
Constable Debi Alard of Melkbosstrand police explains that this scam can unfold over a period as long as a year during which the scammer gains the trust of his victim, who is usually an elderly lonely female – someone without a circle of friends or family who can provide a ‘sanity’ check. After gaining her trust, a sudden financial crisis will arise and he will ask for financial help.

What to look out for
According to, a site that has investigated Nigerian and Russian romance scams since 2005, people using dating sites for any length of time stand a very good chance of being approached by a scammer.

The following are signs of a 419 romance scam, warns Alard:
* The person logs in rarely to the site.
* The profile is written in poor English.
* The photograph is either bad, or shows an exceptionally good-looking man or woman in an army or navy uniform.
*The person asks you immediately to use instant messaging or email. This is so that there will not be evidence which will cause the site administrator to kick them off the site.
* You get a message citing a need for money to pay for some emergency e.g. an operation.
* The scammer claims to live in your country but says that he or she is currently stationed abroad.
* The scammer uses psychological tricks, and poetry, to entrap his elderly victim emotionally. He declares his love for her.
* The scammer asks you to cash a check for him through your bank account or otherwise asks out straight for money.

The Nigerian men appeared in Atlantis magistrate’s court on 8 May. An Ibu interpreter has been appointed for them. The state has said that it will oppose bail and the men remain in custody.



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