A 61-year-old Australian woman, Jan Marshall, must have thought she has found love at last when she signed up to a dating site, Plenty of Fish, and was so much enchanted with the dream of getting married to an 'American' based engineer named Eamon Donegal Dubhlainn, but she ended up not only heart broken but duped of the sum of $350,000, (about N69 million), of her life savings in the process.
Narrating her ordeal to Daily Mail Australia, Marshall, said the scammer had posted the photo of Dubhlainn, claiming to be an engineer in the US and after a few weeks of whirlwind online romance, proposed marriage to her which she readily accepted.
It was when she realised that she had been taken to the cleaners by the sharp Naija gy that her eyes opened to the reality that all that glitter is not gold.
"I hadn’t had a lot of relationships before and I quickly got approached by someone who claimed to be an engineer in America, and he said 'I would be happy to go anywhere for the right person', that’s apparently what they say.
We continued to communicate and very quickly, he got me on email and phone and then instant messenger.
But there was always a technical problem when we were supposed to video chat. The fraudster provided two photos, naming 'the man' as 'Eamon Donegal Dubhlainn'.
He then said he was moving back to England and said 'we will be together very shortly, you are a special person and I want to communicate just with you'.
Within a month, it got very serious and he asked me to marry him, and I accepted. I was fully drawn into his love and attention. Several friends tried to warn me but I was past caring. When you were in these things, they cut you off from your friends, encourage you to disassociate with them.
He would always say 'I am a wealthy man but I can’t access my funds.'
I would pay over $270,000 to him, that included savings, additional credit and ultimately I took money out of a self-managed super fund, which I wasn't supposed to do and which now has me in strife with the the tax office.
I have a $76,000 tax bill on the super and that is at 46 per cent interest.'I am a professional person, in a well paid job, and my friends say that if they lined up 10 people in a line to see who would be caught out that I wouldn’t have been the last one to have been duped by a scam like this.
The only follow up I received is that the money was collected in Nigeria, though I had sent it to Dubai. It left me in a lot of strife, I gave him money from my pay, I had to borrow money to get through that first month, I closed down a lot of discretionary spending and I am still in strife in credit card and tax office debt.
It was always amounts like $40,000, which I gave to him twice, then he said he was in trouble with those he'd contracted work to and had to buy out the contract for $77,000.
The larger amounts went to bank accounts, those of $40,000 and $30,000 went through Western Union, even thought there is a limit of $10,000 and I was doing it in multiples of 10.
Then, when he was apparently on his way to the airport (to come to Australia) he had a car crash and was in hospital, they had other people like nurses and doctors contact you, a document showing the expenses and others playing other roles.
I didn’t realise it was a scam until he got on a plane to England, he said 'I’m on my way now, thanks for everything; it wasn’t until then that I realised."