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A Perth woman who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a Nigerian online romance scam has recovered part of the money after a police investigation.
The ABC understands she has recovered about $100,000, or 40 per cent of the money she transferred overseas.
The woman, who only wants to be known as Jenny, is the first known WA romance fraud victim to receive any money back.
Jenny, 51, told ABC 720 local radio that she developed a relationship with a man called Gary in 2013 on the online dating website RSVP.
The Nigerian scammers had stolen a photo off a website and had created a fictitious profile for Gary, who claimed to be in love with her and needed money for a business-related crisis.
"We developed a relationship online fairly rapidly, and fairly rapidly he started requesting money and I sent those sums of money after about six weeks," she said."I was simply looking for companionship after my divorce and never thought there would be such cruel con artists looing to capitalise on loneliness."When he was wanting to send his money back via me, I realised there was something really wrong here and asked some questions and ended up with [police] Project Sunbird, who confirmed it was a scam." Detective Sergeant Dom Blackshaw has confirmed that the major fraud squad has been working with Nigerian police, who have arrested a suspect and charged him with obtaining money under false pretences."It's our fourth arrest working with the Nigerians - there's been a lot of cooperation between us," he said."The advice we've been given from the Nigerians is that he is part of a wider group and they invariably always work in syndicates."Detective Sergeant Blackshaw said the arrest stemmed from police lifting fingerprints off a document the scammer sent to Jenny, which matched a person known to the Nigerian police.Jenny said she had resigned herself to the fact that she would never see the money again and felt like she had won the lottery after her bank agreed to recall several payments of money she sent to the conman."I've got it - it's safely tucked away in my bank," she said."When I learnt I had been defrauded, I put a recall on the funds and I have maintained contact with the overseas banks since that time in different channels, just assuring them that it was fraud."I sent three payments and I got two repayments back in the same amounts, so I got two phone calls back saying the money is here."I feel very lucky; a bit like winning the lottery."Jenny said the scammers prey on people who are vulnerable."I guess that was my question, how could I have fallen for that?" she said."And I think it's not the what or the who, it is the when.It's when a person has a little chink in their armour that someone can get in, and it festers and they make the most of it."Detective Sergeant Blackshaw said efforts to stop overseas scams targeting Australians need to be made on a national scale."The scammer in West Africa is going to look at an Australian as an Australian," he said."They are not going to look at them as a West Australian or a South Australian.Welcome to Chat Lagos, the list of Chat Hour members in Lagos.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating