In this day and age, as our technological burden becomes increasingly more demanding, there are plenty of new schemes and scams being developed in order to victimize us.
Some of these plots are entirely new, (such as the use of ransomware), while others are simply more audacious takes on the classic conniving of con artists throughout the years.
The latest stunning scam to grace the headlines is a play on an older money-transfer plot that was characterized by an ever-present and wealthy “Nigerian Prince”…only this time, its wasn’t some unknown bit of royalty, but rather an alleged “astronaut” looking for help getting home from outer space.
An unfortunate woman in Japan wound up bilked out of around $30,000 after she was romanced by an online scammer claiming to be a Russian astronaut who needed her financial help to get back to Earth so that they could get married. The bizarre case, which came to light this week, reportedly began back in June when the victim received a random message on Instagram from an individual who said that he was a cosmonaut currently serving aboard the International Space Station. It would appear that the tale was believable enough that the pair started corresponding and, shortly thereafter, an unlikely relationship began to bloom and the two soon began to plan for a life together in Japan.
And she fell for it…hook, line, and shuttle.
Repeatedly and boldly declaring his love for the woman, the faux cosmonaut proposed that they marry upon his arrival in her country, but lamented that there was a significant financial roadblock standing in the way of their future. The scammer claimed that he needed money to pay for the cost of flying a rocket from the ISS back to Earth and the subsequent “landing fees” associated with such a journey. Clearly besotted with her online beau, the woman proceeded to send him approximately $30,000 by way of four installments delivered between late August and early September. However, when the ‘cosmonaut’ continued to ask for additional funds, the woman realized that she had been conned and reported her plight to police.
This wasn’t the first time that this particular grifter had attempted this cockamamie scheme, but his previous target was at least aware enough to refrain from busting out the checkbook.