British Postman Loses £130,000 to MySpace “Friend”


The British newspaper Mail Online reports that a local postman was scammed out of his life savings by an an attractive female “friend” he met on the popular online community site MySpace.

Saving the Damsel in Distress

The postman, Shane Symington, seems like a nice fellow who was simply trying to help a fellow human being. He befriended an American woman named ‘Angela Gates’ on MySpace in 2007. After a few weeks of friendly banter, the woman began asking for money to pay for her mother’s funeral and for medical expenses.

What could Shane do but rush in and save her from her predicament? She needed him!

In order to hit every soft spot Shane had, ‘Angela’ also told him she needed more money to pay for legal fees that would allow her to inherit a $2 million piece of property. Anyone who’s studied Advanced Fee Fraud scams will recognize this kind of story.

Damsel Turns Out to Be a Dude

Unfortunately, it appears Shane hadn’t studied much about scams. It turns out this attractive, bikini-clad and potentially rich American woman was really a Nigerian man. Surprised? I doubt it.

After emptying Shane’s bank account the Nigerian man even contacted Shane and admitted his fraud, but the story doesn’t end there.

From the Mail Online:

He was then contacted by another woman, again from America, claiming she had also been caught in the scam.

He said that he then helped pay her legal expenses and the cost of hiring two ex-FBI agents in an attempt to regain the lost money for both of them.

Mr. Symington said that he now believes that these people are also involved in the scam. He said that he had paid out more than £30,000 to them, bringing his total losses to more than £130,000.

Ouch!

The lesson to learn here is that when this scammers find a victim, they hit them with multiple scams from multiple people until they have milked their target completely dry.

What does Shane have to say about all of this:

I feel sick from it all, I feel disillusioned, they have just played on my good nature. I’ve lost my life-savings, I have two loans and credit card debts, I’m in huge debts because of all of this.

You just can’t trust anyone on the internet. I want to warn people but I know I won’t be the last to fall for something like this.

The police in Hampshire working the case said that there’s little they can do to recover the money because of the current political situation in Nigeria.

What Can We Do?

These stories are hard to read. We can’t believe someone can be so easily manipulated. So what can we do? I suggest you help your friends, relatives, and neighbors by educating them about these kinds of scams. Shane said it best – “I won’t be the last to fall for something like this.”

Don’t let it happen to someone you know.

Read the whole story (w/ pics of the lovey ‘Ms. Gates’ on the Mail Online web site.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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