LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A Lancaster County woman fell victim to a months-long scam in which she was defrauded out of $110,400 by a person she met online, according to police.
The scam took place between June 29 and January 10.
Police say the 53-year-old victim met an individual via social media platform Google Hangouts who claimed to be a doctor from England on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
The person told the woman he was trapped in Syria and was being assisted out of the country by the United Kingdom and United States governments, in which he requested her financial help, according to police. Over the course of two months, the victim sent him approximately $10,000 to an account in Poland — where government agents were waiting — to cover airfare, legal fees and other costs.
The individual contacted the woman again, this time claiming that he made it out of Syria but was now in FBI custody in New York, for safety.
Police say the person lured the victim by informing her that he told the FBI she was his spouse and that she was now responsible for his fines and fees. He also concocted a story that the FBI had agents in Michigan and that’s where she should send the money, police add. As a result, the woman wired over $99,000 over the course of three months.
During that time, police note, the victim was contacted by who she thought was the FBI, threatening her with arrest and additional fines if she did not pay.
According to police, the person promised to return the funds to the woman when he returned home to England.
The victim became suspicious when the individual failed to return the money.