NANAIMO — “He said he loved me and wanted to marry me. Why wouldn’t I send him money,” said a 67-year-old woman who fell victim to a Facebook scam and lost $15,000.
Mary, not her real name, received a Facebook message in January 2017 from a male who went by the name of Kevin Rand. Rand claimed to be a high ranking officer with the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Turkey.
Their conversations through Facebook and by email soon became personal and within two months he was professing his love to her and asked her to marry him. Her feelings were mutual. They began to make plans to move to Homestead, Florida following his posting to Turkey. Mary was preparing to resign from her job and was excited about her life plans with Kevin Rand.
In April, Rand emailed her with bad news. A friend’s wife needed emergency surgery and he asked Mary to help pay for the operation. Without blinking an eye Mary went to her local chartered bank and withdrew what she could and wired it to Rand.
Rand then upped the ante and told Mary he had recently purchased gold but it was tied up in customs. To have it released he was required to pay thousands of dollars in taxes. Rand told Mary that once the taxes on the gold were paid he would sell it and the money would be used to help them relocate to Florida. Mary didn’t hesitate and wired the money. Days later Kevin Rand disappeared from her FB friends list.
This didn’t have to happen. Mary was planning on retiring soon but realizes now she will need to continue working to recoup from her financial loss, said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
“Don’t fall prey to online scams. Do your homework. A simple google search would have revealed this name and scheme he was using has been carried out hundreds of other times worldwide.” For more information on romance scams and other frauds go to http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.