Cleaned out by cyber lover

Besotted women being conned out of millions by fake online Casanovas.

Knowing it was too good to be true did not stop a Durban mother of five from being conned out of almost R700 000 by a cyber lover. “People are probably thinking how could I have been so stupid. I ask myself the same question daily,” she said.

The divorced administration clerk, like hundreds of vulnerable women fooled and charmed by online Casanovas, lost her life savings to a man she had fallen in love with despite never having met in person.

The Hawks are aware of several cases in which women have lost much more than R700 000. “We are talking about millions,” spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said.

“These crimes are perpetrated by individuals as well as syndicates.”

A director of IRS Forensic Investigations, Glenda Paul, said: “There are several similar cases under investigation throughout South Africa. It is suspected that some of the syndicate members are resident in Cape Town but a large portion of them work out of internet cafés worldwide.”

-Nivashni Nair

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