Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

Summary: A woman recently lost hundreds of thousands to a Facebook con artist.

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A Malaysian woman recently forked over RM1.1 million (approximately $366,000) to a Facebook con artist. The man claimed he was a UK citizen who needed the unidentified woman's bank account in order to cash in a RM4.6 million ($1.53 million) contract he had with Petronas, Malaysia's national oil company. He explained to the victim he could not afford to pay stamp duty charges and insurance fees which he needed to get his agreement approved.

"The victim paid RM1.1 million via several transactions to the man between March 29 and April 19," Federal Commercial Crimes director Comm Datuk Wira Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said according to The Star. "She caved in when she heard his sob stories."

The woman contacted the local authorities after finally realizing she had been conned by her Facebook friend. Police arrested six male suspects in Kepong, all allegedly connected to the Facebook scam. Two were Nigerians, two were Bangladeshis, and two were Malaysian. Investigators only managed to recover RM15,000 in cash ($5,000) of the victim's money, although they also seized 18 ATM cards, seven cell phones, and a laptop.

Please remember that because Facebook is a much more social experience than email, a scammer's job is that much easier to execute. The same rules for the Internet apply on Facebook: never hand over any personal information to someone you don't know.

Topics: Networking, Banking, Enterprise Software, Telcos, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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30 comments
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  • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

    a fool and her money are soon separated.
    tatiGmail
  • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

    This scam STILL works? Seriously? No doubt the article left out how she was scammed because she was also promised a nice cut of the hoax proceeds.

    Greed...my favorite vice.
    ObiOrion
    • Amazing isn't it

      @ObiOrion

      *sigh*

      They'll stop using it when it stops working, so we'll all know when our email in-boxes stop filling with scams like this.
      oncall
    • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

      @ObiOrion

      Sadly, yes. I can atest to this with a few personal experiences.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

    hahaha
    kabirasm
  • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

    Of COURSE there were nigerians involved...
    nickswift498
  • Not to defend Facebook .... but the title should read:

    Stupid woman conned by a scammer.

    Facebook had nothing to do with the woman's lack of basic common sense. After 10+ years of warnings about the Nigerian scam, it is still impressive how many stupid people live in this planet.
    wackoae
    • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

      @wackoae Exactly! These types of scams will use any venue they can if they think it will work to get someone's money. I was deployed in Iraq a few years ago and a "woman" started talking to me in a yahoo chat room. We talked for a while and I added her to my friends list. I knew from the beginning what was going on, but I love messing with the scammers so I played along. She got to the point a couple of weeks after we started talking and said she was a model from Oregon working in the southern most part of Africa on a "shoot". She later change that story and said she was in Nigeria and that the hotel manager where she was staying told her she had to pay her bill before she was even close to leaving. That's when she asked me for money. I kept asking questions to see what excuses she was going to come up with. She said she didn't have any money and wouldn't get paid for the job until after she returned to the US. I asked why couldn't the people she worked for pay for the hotel she was staying at if they were the ones who sent her there. She couldn't really give me a straight answer. <br><br>I got tired of talking to her and through the use of alternate messenger accounts convinced "her" she had gotten me killed. I never heard from this person again lol.<br><br>If someone is stupid enough to fall for these scams they deserve to lose their money.
      SpiderTech
    • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

      @wackoae Indeed - this seems to be yet another sensationalist click bait articles that we all somehow seem to keep falling for... would anyone have clicked on an article with the header "Woman scammed by Nigerian scam artist and lost $366,000"? Put the words "Facebook", "Apple", "Android", "Microsoft", "Wikileaks", or any other "love to hate" or "love their work" company name in the header and BAM! Page hits galore!
      athynz
    • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

      @wackoae - These same scams were going around by snail mail before the Internet and email came along. I wouldn't be surprised but what we someday find a similar scam written in cuniform on a clay tablet.
      boomchuck1
  • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

    "... they deserve to lose their money." Really?<br>You also believe that the con artist is the hero, Robin-hood, right?<br>This is a stupid way to think of. The correct way is to make everything possible to inform police about the con artist (that "model", in your case). When all of us will do that, the con artists will vanish.<br>The idea is that the woman thought that she is helping, the fact that she is getting something is normal - win-win situation.
    alabamX
    • Typical Con

      @alabamX
      Most scams rely on the victim's dishonesty. It is unfortunate that the Malasian woman was tricked into giving out her banking information under the guise of helping someone in need as well as getting to keep a bit of the money in gratitude for the service. Sometimes the victim is too embarrassed about their poor judgement to report the crime.

      It is said that you can not cheat an honest man. An honest man would not accept money from someone in need and would not get involved with a deal that is trying to cheat the government. Most of us are honest most of the time but those times when we are not honest is when we are prone to falling for a scam or deal that sounds like a win-win but is dishonest. Diogenes carried a lantern during daylight in search of an honest man and did not find an honest man.
      sboverie
      • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

        @sboverie@... Many scams rely on the victim's charitable nature. Honest people get scammed too.
        123techie123
      • Diogenes' Standard of Honesty

        123techie123
        A good example of a scam that appeals to the good qualities of people is in Mark Twain's "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg".

        People think they are honest and 99% of the time they are. It is that 1% time that people are dishonest that makes the scam work. If you look at how the scam unfolds then you can see that the victim thought they were getting something big for almost no effort on their part; this is where the victim's dishonesty sets them up. An honest man will not take advantage of a desparate person to get more money than he knows he deserves. If a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn't.
        sboverie
    • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

      @alabamX
      Really? You can extrapolate someone's lack of sympathy for the victim into a belief that the culprit is a hero? You are the one who's stupid if the you think a) the police in Malaysia would have the resources to track this. b) anyone in Nigeria would act to stop it. It's a national industry and has been occurring for decades. Hence the lack of sympathy. Hence the clear understanding that the Internet is the wild west and if you don't enter it with that mindset you are doomed to get stung.
      spin498
      • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

        @spin498
        I haven't called anyone stupid... I said that thinking that way was stupid. Bright men can have stupid ideas...
        I'm not extrapolating - I was not asking for sympathy for the victim. (read again my post)
        I'm just suggesting an objective reaction (the normal response) that a person should have when it finds something illegal. If no one is reporting these issues, no action will be taken from police (anywhere on the planet).
        Think it this way: less than 5% of the internet users are con artists, why letting them change it into a wild west?
        alabamX
  • Be careful with your money

    I am Mbulu Powanda, the Nigerian Minister of Scams. We no longer run this scam. We got tired of it. This is some usurper, probably from Burundi or Mombassa.

    When sending your money to complete strangers in faraway places, please make sure you are dealing with genuine Nigerian scam artists. Accept no substitutes.

    Thank you, and we look forward to doing business.
    Robert Hahn
    • Where is the &quot;like&quot; button?

      @Robert Hahn
      Absolutely perfect!
      use_what_works_4_U
    • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

      @Robert Hahn That is why Nigeria STINKS ! ! !
      davidctm@...
  • RE: Facebook con artist steals $366,000 from woman

    It just blows my mind that, with all the news of this type of scam (usually an email from Nigeria that begins with, "Kind Sir" or something similar), people are still falling for these cons. Just shows there are all levels of intelligence out there.
    scorpio1113