A woman with a doctorate was defrauded out of NT$5.6 million (US$183,174) over the past five months by Internet scammers posing as doctors, engineers and police officers, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said on Sunday.
Many believe that people with lower education are more vulnerable to scams, but statistics show that highly educated people are just as susceptible to online fraud, the bureau said in a statement.
The woman, surnamed Huang (黃), who is in her 50s, in April met a man on an online dating site who claimed to be a dentist working for the UN in Syria, it said.
The man said he was in a war zone and had difficulty transferring money, and asked Huang to make an advance payment for him, promising to repay the money after completing his mission, the bureau said.
Huang transferred ￡55,000 (US$70,680) and US$45,000 to the man’s bank account, it added.
Meanwhile, Huang was contacted by another man posing as an engineer from the US, who asked her to lend him US$26,000 to open a bank account in Malaysia, which she did, the bureau said.
In June, Huang met another man on the dating site who claimed to be a surgeon working for the UN, it said.
The man told Huang he was being investigated by the FBI and asked her to pay fees needed for the investigation, which she did, the bureau said.
In July, Huang was targeted by a scammer posing as an Interpol officer, who told her that he was helping investigate an international fraud case and persuaded her to give him NT$1 million, it added.
Huang did not realize she had been scammed until she found that her money could not be recuperated, the bureau said.
It urged the public to call the National Police Agency’s anti-fraud hotline 165 to report any suspected scams.