A Queensland grandmother who lost $480,000 (N175m) to three separate online scammers has warned others not to be as naïve as she was when looking for love.
Suzie confesses she was “gullible” and “brainwashed’ in the past, having sold her home and parted with hundreds and thousands of dollars to three different romantic partners she met online.
“Maybe that’s what I was doing: buying love,” she told A Current Affair.
“When I think back now I think that’s what I was doing.”
Suzie’s first suitor was a man who called himself David Fisher and claimed he was a British mine worker.
After a year of online courtship, David claimed he needed new money for a laptop.
Suzie allowed him access to her bank account and within three days, he had absconded with more than $80,000.
“Three days later, my bank account was cleared out of my father’s inheritance, it was all gone,” she said.
Suzie’s second suitor was a man named Johnson Williams, whom she met on Skype.
“He was dressed; well the photograph was of an American soldier. I understand how hard it must be to be away on deployment, so I started chatting with him,” Suzie said.
Flattered by the attention, she gave in to his whims and he started to ask for money to escape from an army camp in Iraq.
Suzie even sold her home so she could send him nearly $300,000.
“I went along with it because I thought, I’ve actually got somebody in my life, and I’m committed to this man.”
Her bank noticed the transactions and called her in for a meeting. They told her they knew of at least five other women who had been transferring money in the same account. As it turns out, the account was located in Ghana.
The third time Suzie found love was on Facebook with a man named Godfrey Kyzungo, from Uganda.
She even went as far as travelling to Uganda and marrying him, only to end up broken hearted.
“I don’t want to use the word scam with it, but I believe that deep down in his heart, this is his motive, was to marry me and come to Australia,” she said.
Now, she’s looking to have her marriage to him annulled, and is speaking up to let others know the dangers of online dating.
“These people are evil how they manipulate your mind,” she said.
“I’m not proud of what I’ve done; don’t get me wrong I just want it to be known to other women and men that this is what happens.”
Police have repeatedly warned people to be cautious of online dating, but there’s really no limit to how far some would go for money or love.