Taipei-A woman in her 50s with a PhD has been defrauded out of NT$5.6 million (US$183,059) over the past five months by Internet scammers posing as doctors or engineers, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said Sunday.
Many people believe that people with lower educational attainment are more vulnerable to scams but statistical analyses on victims of fraud show that highly educated people are just as susceptible to online fraud, the CIB said in a statement.
In April the woman, surnamed Huang, made contact through a dating website with a scammer who claimed to be a dentist working in Syria for the United Nations.
The man claimed to be in a warzone and had difficulty transferring money, and asked Huang to make an advance payment for him, promising to repay the money after completing his mission.
Falling for the scam, Huang remitted 55,000 British pounds (US$70,906) and US$45,000 to the scammer's bank account.
Meanwhile, Huang was contacted by another scammer posing as an engineer from the United States, who asked Huang to lend him US$26,000 to open a bank account in Malaysia.
In June, through the same online dating website, Huang got to know a man claiming to be a U.N. surgeon who was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and asked Huang to pay fees needed for the investigation.
In July, she fell for yet another online scammer, this one posing as an officer in the International Criminal Police Organization INTERPOL, who convinced her that he was helping to investigate an international fraud case and persuaded her to give him NT$1 million.
Huang did not realize she had fallen prey to scams until she found that her money was gone, the CIB added.
The CIB urged the public to call the National Police Agency's anti-fraud hotline 165 to report any suspected scams.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel