A British fan of actor Jason Statham was fooled into thinking she had formed an online relationship with the Hollywood hard man, after joining a Facebook fan page for the “Fast and Furious” star.
As BBC News reports, the unnamed woman from the North West of England – who was feeling vulnerable after the death of both her mother and fiancé – was tricked into giving a fraudster “hundreds of thousands” of pounds.
The woman said she was first contacted online by someone posing as Mr Statham while she was on a Facebook page dedicated to the Fast and Furious star.
“I thought ‘Oh, that’s nice of him, talking to his fans’. I might have been star-struck then, I don’t know,” she said.
The fraudster then encouraged her to use the encrypted WhatsApp service, sending her hundreds of messages over several months.
The woman said it felt like she was building a relationship with the actor, although looking back “I don’t feel like I was in the right place myself because of what I’d been through”.
The fraudster posing as Mr Statham told her he loved her and eventually asked her to help with some financial difficulties, claiming a film payment was delayed.
She then made a series of payments to the fraudster, totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds.
My heart goes out to the poor woman who fell for this heartless fraudster, and I wonder how many others might have fallen for similar scams but felt too embarrassed to come forward.
Hard-nosed readers of this blog might find it hard to imagine that anyone could be duped into wiring thousands of pounds to someone they’ve never met, but the truth is that we’re all human. We’re all capable of making mistakes. And if we’ve been shaken by a traumatic event, how many of us can put our hands on our hearts and say that sometimes we might not make some pretty poor decisions?
We should all take care to look out for friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances who might be vulnerable to scammers and fraudsters.
For more discussion on this topic, be sure to listen to our “Smashing Security” podcast: