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October 19, 2018

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Woman sent US$173,000 to ‘US soldier’ in scam

A 51-YEAR-OLD woman who fell in love with a “US soldier” she met on a dating website transferred about 1.2 million yuan (US$173,000) to “United Nations bank accounts” within a month, police said yesterday.

The Shanghai woman, surnamed Zhang, who lives in the Pudong New Area, sought help from police after finally realizing it could be a scam and almost exhausting her savings.

Fortunately, with the quick intervention of police, she recovered about 1 million yuan.

Zhang got to know the scammer on, a Chinese dating website, in late July. The scammer claimed he was serving in the US army, about to retire and was looking for a Chinese wife, police said.

Zhang communicated with the “soldier,” who called himself “Rickshaw Dosier,” on WeChat by translating his messages into Chinese and then her messages into English. She then started to receive e-mails purportedly sent from the United Nations, which asked for payments for the soldier’s transport to China after being injured on the battlefield, as well as the cost of rescue teams after his fighter jet was shot down.

Zhang said the scammer promised that he would return the money to her but he never did.

Police said the bank accounts, purporting to belong to the United Nations, were mostly opened in Guangdong Province.

Their investigation is ongoing. Shanghai police said that they stopped 195 million yuan from being paid through banks to telecom and Internet fraud scammers’ accounts in the first nine months of this year.

Special police squads detect about 1,500 residents being contacted by possible scammers every day.

They intervene by sending SMS messages to potential victims, calling them on the phone and having police officers visit in person.


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