Naperville man scammed by Internet girlfriend

Updated 2/25/2011 3:01 PM

A Naperville man was scammed out of $200,000 after wiring money overseas to a phony online "girlfriend," authorities said.

The 48-year-old male victim called Naperville police Wednesday to ask for help rescuing the woman whom he believed had been kidnapped in London, Sgt. Gregg Bell said.


Bell said the man was looking to call Scotland Yard in England to report the kidnapping, at which time police had to explain he had been scammed.

"Over the course of the last couple of years he sent her money because she was sick or arrested or some other problems," Bell said. "The final one was that she was allegedly kidnapped in London and needed ransom money. He phoned police looking to get in touch with Scotland Yard to report the kidnapping."

Bell said the man had numerous e-mail or chat conversations with someone he believed was a woman he met through an online dating website. He never actually met the person.

Bell said the scam artist at one point proved her "existence" by sending a Florida driver's license that was lifted right from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles website as a sample license.

"You know those sample licenses online that say 'Jane Doe' and have a picture?" Bell said. "The victim thought that was the woman."

The victim told police he wired the $200,000 to several different bank accounts in Nigeria, Malaysia, England and the United States.

Bell said the incident is under investigation.

"Bottom line, don't ever send money to people you don't know and have never met over the Internet," he said. "If you are sending money overseas to people you have never met, it's a scam nine times out of 10."