A bank teller in Miaoli County prevented a woman from falling for an online dating scam, as they deemed her attempt to transfer US$500 abroad suspicious.
The teller informed the police after a woman, surnamed Huang (黃), on Wednesday last week requested the transfer to a Chinese bank account.
Huang said that the money was emergency funding for her “husband,” a person who goes by the name James, who she connected with about six months ago through an online dating app, the Jhunan Township (竹南) police precinct said.
Three officers persuaded Huang that she was the target of a scam.
Although the two had never met, Huang talked to James every day and deemed that they developed a close relationship, to the point of calling each other husband and wife, police said.
James then asked Huang to transfer money to cover living expenses, they said.
However, Huang was prevented from transferring the money, and thanked the teller and the officers for their vigilance.
This case was unusual for its length, precinct chief Yang Tsan-chun (楊贊鈞) said on Saturday.
The alleged scammer spent a half-year developing a relationship with Huang, Yang said, adding that if it were not for the bank teller, the scam would have succeeded.
Cross-border online dating scams are becoming increasingly common, Yang said, calling on the public to be cautious when chatting with strangers online.
If someone brings up a money transfer, this might be a sign that it is a scam, he said.
The most common scam involves a person posing as an attractive man with a good job abroad, Yang said.
After gaining the potential victim’s trust, the scammer would ask for large sums of money to be transferred to their account, he added.
Yang said that people who suspect a scam should call the 165 anti-fraud hotline, contact authorities through the National Police Agency’s anti-fraud app (165反詐騙) or visit their local police station for assistance.
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