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Retailers duped in online dating scam

Retailers have been warned to be wary of large online orders sent to residential addresses after at least five New Zealand women were caught up in an online dating scam.

AAP reports the women were tricked by cyber suitors into posting goods bought with stolen credit cards.

Police are investigating after the women were duped by men they met online. It’s the sort of scam which, by its design, could be occurring globally, not just in New Zealand.

The cases follow a pattern, starting with the pair meeting on dating sites including catholicdating.com, christiandating.com or tagged.com, police in New Zealand say.

The man often claimed to be in Germany and after a few weeks of chatting would ask if he could have goods he needed for his business posted to the woman’s home address so she could send them on to him overseas.

He would send her a shipping document so she didn’t have to pay postage and ask for them to be sent to a Ghana address, explaining that it was cheaper or telling her he was a missionary.

The goods included stereos, televisions, work boots and Fossil watches – and all had been bought from New Zealand online stores with stolen credit card details.

In one case, a woman received five home entertainment systems. After the women posted the goods, they never heard from their supposed Romeos again.

Police believe overseas criminals have made fake profiles to trick the women and are working with Interpol on the investigation.

“Though it sounds very dubious when we describe it, the men have actually been quite convincing and the women have been understandably quite upset and embarrassed when they realise they have been tricked,” Constable Grant Kenny said.

Police first discovered the scam when a credit card holder disputed a transaction with their bank. They’re warning online daters and retailers alike to be careful of the same thing happening again.

– With AAP

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