By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — A man filed a fraud report with local police officers after a local store clerk intervened when he attempted to purchase gift cards for an out-of-state woman with whom he claimed to have an online romantic relationship.
The man said he has been exchanging texts with a 29-year-old Colorado woman for four to five months, and he has sent $700 to $800 to her through gift cards on two or three separate occasions. He said he also purchased an airline ticket for her to visit him in December, and he had planned to buy her a new phone so he could exchange messages that were not limited to texts.
Deputy Police Chief Archie Hamilton said technology has created an opportunity for criminals to locate victims regardless of geographical boundaries.
“None of us are immune to becoming victims of fraud,” he said. “These scams are quite complex, and this case is an excellent example of social engineering, where the criminal will gain the trust of the victim, develop an emotional attachment and prey on the person’s empathy by claiming they cannot meet certain needs, which prompts the victim to help them.”