ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A woman who lives in the 35W400 block of Lambert Avenue, St. Charles Township, reported being the victim of a romance scam resulting in the loss of $8,301.75 – and having her car repossessed, according to Kane County Sheriff’s reports.
The woman told deputies that she began an online relationship with a man about a year ago and were most recently discussing marriage and she was making arrangements with her church, reports stated.
The man told her he worked for the Chevron Corporation for about 33 years at its corporate headquarters in San Ramon, Cal., that his wife had died 10 years ago and he has two teenage children, of which he showed her photos of them on a cell phone, reports stated.
He provided her with other documentation, and she questioned why his birth date on his passport was different than was on his New York driver’s license, reports stated.
When she pointed it out, his explanation was that, “Chevron needed him to ‘lie’ on his driver’s license to appear young so that he could meet the age restrictions to be on oil rigs,” the report stated.
In December, he told her he was retiring and was in Switzerland; while there, Chevron awarded him $3.5 million shipped to him in cash for his years of service, the report stated.
He said because the money was in a locked container accompanied by a diplomat of a security company in Switzerland, he was arranging to have it shipped to her – but she would have to pay the shipping fees prior to delivery, reports stated.
He told her that his finances were tied up in investments so he received a $10,000 loan from a friend for part of the fees and asked her to send an additional $2,000 to an address in Idaho Falls, Idaho on Dec. 20, 2018, reports stated.
She did, and sent an additional $1,650 to a Wells Fargo bank account in Normal, Ill. on Dec. 27; then she sent $600 cash to the diplomat, who was stranded at O’Hare and needed more money, the report stated.
She made 17 more money transfers from Feb. 28 to June in amounts ranging from $750 to $30, reports stated.
The woman, “advised that she understands that she has been scammed and that (the person) is most likely a fictitious person from outside the U.S.,” the report stated. “Due to having lost the money, she has been unable to make her car payments and her vehicle was recently repossessed. She stated that she had believed that she would be paid back all the funds when (he) returned to the U.S.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.ftc.gov, more than 21,000 reports were made in 2018 of people who lost $143 million in romance scams.
In romance scams, fraudsters lure people by creating attractive and convincing personas, then convince their targets to send them money, usually claiming they are abroad and cannot meet in person, according to the website.