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'Pick-pocketed banker in Mexico' scams woman out of W50m in online romance scam

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : May 26, 2023 - 16:07

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A man posing as a banker living in Mexico scammed a woman in Gyeonggi Province out of 50 million won ($37,700) in an online romance scam, local media reported Friday.

The woman, in her 40s, befriended the man on social media and had opened up to him, the report said, quoting the Korean Embassy in Mexico.

After gaining her trust, the man told her he was pick-pocketed in Mexico and was about to be kicked out of his hotel because he had no money. He asked for 50 million won to pay for hotel expenses, which the woman had sent him.

The man repeatedly assured the woman by sending pictures of his passport, driver's license and company ID.

He later told her he was jailed in Mexico and could not be reached thereafter. Frantic, she turned to the embassy in Korea for help and was told she was the victim of an online romance scam.

Another woman in her 40s living in Busan also asked the embassy for help after a Korean man born in 1991 told her he was robbed in Mexico City. It was later also found to be a scam.

Police in Gyeonggi Province are investigating the case after it received a report that 100 million won was remitted to a man with a forged Mexican passport.

It is unclear whether the case the police were investigating involved the two women, and whether the two women were conned by the same man.

“Please report to a Korean investigative agency immediately if you recognize similar cases,” said an official from the Korean Embassy in Mexico.

Victims of romance scams, which have become more prevalent with the rise of social media, are tricked by perpetrators who claim to be in love with them after meeting them online. The con artists usually propose business partnerships or marriage before extracting money from them through requests for help.