Patricia Meister, 64, from Queensland, Australia, received a friend request in 2015 from someone she thought was an Italian businessman.
The pair struck up a conversation that blossomed into much more for the single woman. “I’d never been on dating websites, and I only used Facebook for business. So when I got the friend request, I thought it couldn’t do any harm, can it?” she told Daily Mail Australia.
But sadly, it did do harm. The man posing as an Italian businessman ended up being a Nigerian scam artist.
The pair talked daily and even spoke over the phone. In no time, he started asking her for small sums of money. After eight weeks, he had asked for $800, which Patricia handed over.
But the amounts kept increasing. Soon enough, Patricia had given the stranger $100,000 without ever meeting him. Unfortunately, it was too late before she realized she had been scammed. She’s now warning others who may fall into the same trap.
Keep scrolling to read Patricia’s story and see how she is trying to prevent the same thing from happening to others.
In 2015, 64-year-old Patricia Meister was scammed online.
She accepted a Facebook friend request from someone who said he was a businessman based in Brisbane.
The pair talked online every day.
“I guess at the time, I was going through a period in my life where I felt isolated,” Patricia said. “I’d been single for a while and I’d never been on dating sites.”
About two months into talking, the man (who said his name was Carlos) started asking Patricia for money.
Patricia didn’t think much of it and agreed to send him some.
“It didn’t feel right but I thought, ‘Well, it’s not a huge amount of money to lose.’ It wasn’t a huge request so I did a wire transfer to him,” she explained.
But her new lover didn’t stop there. He continued asking for money and made up a plethora of excuses as to why his credit cards weren’t working.
Patricia then started sending him thousands of dollars.
He promised her that she’d get her money back, but the moment she received a call saying Carlos was in a terrible accident, she knew she had been scammed.
She had discovered that her Italian lover was really a Nigerian scam artist who preyed on women like her to get thousands of dollars.
“People think you’re stupid but they’re not walking in our shoes,” Patricia said.
“It’s not a matter of being stupid. Even the most intelligent, educated women are getting scammed,” she said.
While Patricia is out of her life savings, she’s now trying to help others who could be potential victims to being scammed on Facebook or other social media sites.
“I know I’ll never get my money back but all you can do is raise awareness,” she said. “There’s a lot of lonely people out there; the dating websites are riddled with scammers.”
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