Love scam: 76-year-old woman in NJ loses $125K, cops say
EVESHAM — A 76-year-old woman lost $125,000 to a man she thought wanted to come to the United States to continued an online relationship.
It turns out her beau was really a 30-year-old man from Old Bridge, according to Evesham police.
The woman struck up the relationship with the man using the dating app Our Time, which is marketed at people over the age of 50, according to Evesham police. When he asked for money to cover the costs of him to come to the U.S., become a citizen and continue their relationship, the woman took out a bank loan, police said.
Police said she deposited the money in an account that he made withdrawals from over a period of time. On Sept. 7, she realized she had been defrauded and went to police.
The man was identified using the security camera at an ATM where he withdrew the money, according to police. Sulaimon Kadelu, 30, was arrested on Wednesday by Old Bridge police and turned over to Evesham police.
Kadelu was charged with second-degree theft and second-degree money laundering and has being held at the Burlington County Jail.
Police said the money has not yet been recovered.
Evesham police provided some tips from the FTC about avoiding romance scams. The bottom line is to never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.
If you suspect a romance scam:
- Stop communicating with the person immediately.
- Talk to someone you trust, and pay attention if your friends or family say they’re concerned about your new love interest.
- Do a search for the type of job the person has to see if other people have heard similar stories? For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.” You can also browse the comments on our blog posts about romance scams to hear other people’s stories.
- Do a reverse image search of the person’ profile picture to see if it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up.
- If you think it’s a scam, report it the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Notify the website or app where you met the scammer, too.
- If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money.