Scammers have fleeced $150,000 from two unsuspecting Aucklanders who fell victim to a couple of classic internet ruses.
One victim believed she was helping an injured love interest while the other thought they were making a savvy investment.
The two unrelated victims approached Counties Manukau police this week after each paid $75,000 to what turned out to be the same scammer in Malaysia.
Counties Manukau police Detective Matthew Kay said one of the victims believed she was in a relationship with a New Zealand man temporarily living in Malaysia.
"He said that he was the victim of a robbery and required money for hospital treatment and other bills before he could return to New Zealand," he said.
The photographs of the fake lover were sourced from the internet and are regularly used for romance scams around the world.
The second victim sent money to the same Malaysian account on the promise they were making an investment.
Both victims became suspicious after the scammer kept requesting more money, with one victim even being asked to sell their house to free up funds.
Police say the scammer used the same bank account for deposits in both cases, yet the scams were different.
It has sparked a police warning against trusting anyone online who is requesting money.
"Police advise everyone to carefully consider who they are sending money to, particularly when using money transfer services such as Western Union," Kay said.
"You should only send money to someone you know, such as family or a friend."
- © Fairfax NZ News