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Lover loses $200,000 to fake online girlfriend

An Illinois man believes his online girlfriend has been kidnapped in London, a report says. Sadly, she doesn't exist. And he's already wired her $200,000.

2 min read

Sometimes online love is even more blind than the real thing.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a 48-year-old man from Naperville, Ill., had been in an online relationship with a woman for two-and-a-half years.

You might wonder why they had not consummated their relationship, by, say, meeting. But some feel the virtual world is, for them, enough.

Regardless, last Wednesday the man reportedly called police because he believed his online love was in serious trouble--he was convinced she'd been kidnapped in London.

Sometimes, online dating can be very scary. CC Don Hankins/Flickr

Clearly, this seemed like a serious matter. The man reportedly provided the police with a copy of her driver's license, just to prove who she was.

Unfortunately, this seems to have been a sample driver's license from Florida.

Please imagine the man's dismay. Not only had he been fooled by his online love. During the course of their "relationship," he had also wired her about $200,000, sending it to bank accounts in such places as Malaysia, Nigeria, England, and even the U.S.

You might think it odd that he never wondered why his online girlfriend had several bank accounts in various parts of the world (including Nigeria--if that's not a red flag, what is?). You might also think it more than odd that someone would want to send significant amounts of cash to people he had never met.

Some might also wonder, though, whether the scammer (who could be a man or a woman) was slightly silly to invent a kidnapping in London. If you have such a lucrative business happening, why spoil it with such an excessive tale of kidnapping strife?

The Sun-Times piece is woefully short on details (for example, how much of the man's payments, if any, were ransom), but one thing appears to be clear: it seems that, even online, too much drama can ruin a relationship.