Kiwis fooled into sending $75,000 overseas

Wellington, March 26: Police in New Zealand have issued a warning about getting involved in romances or investment deals online after two New Zealanders fell victim to an online scam and ended up sending $75,000 to a con artist in Malaysia.

One of the victims thought she was in a relationship with a Kiwi man who was temporarily living in Malaysia, TVNZ quoted the police as saying Wednesday.

He told her he had been robbed and needed money for hospital treatment and bills, before he could come back to New Zealand, Detective Matthew Kay said.

The other person believed the money would be returned to them with interest after the con artist acquired a contract in Malaysia.

Both victims deposited payments totalling $75,000 into the same account. Some payments were made through local banks and others through Western Union.

Both had early suspicions, particularly when more and more money was requested, but continued anyway, Kay said.

One was asked to sell her house in order to free up more money.

“Unfortunately the use of legitimate overseas bank accounts or a long-standing online relationship does not in any way imply a legitimate transaction will be made,” Kay added.

Money transferred overseas is very difficult to trace.

IANS