Woman loses thousands in ‘heartbreaking’ online scam

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WHITELAND, Ind. (March 30, 2015)-- Johnson County authorities are warning Hoosiers to be on guard when meeting people online after discovering that a Whiteland woman was scammed out of thousands of dollars by a man who she had an online relationship with.

Johnson County detective Alex Talley is on the case he called "heartbreaking."

He said a woman in her 60s contacted the sheriff's department to investigate fraud. She told police she had been sending a man named "Gary" money since May of 2014. She thought she had sent anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000.

The victim told authorities she spoke with Gary via email, but he never shared any pictures, did not give out a phone number, or want to meet her. She said she was led to believe that he loved her and sent him cash whenever he asked for help. He gave her various reasons for the money.

Talley said the victim only figured it out when Gary sent her a $2,000 check to cash at her bank, because he was unable to do so where he lived. He wanted her to send the money back to him.

Fortunately for the victim, Talley said, the check bounced immediately. Otherwise, she would have sent her own money to the scammer and would have found out it was a fraudulent check too late.

"It's very important that we don't send cash to people that we don't know," said Detective Talley. "They're very slick and very practiced. They know exactly what they`re doing and they`re going about it with intention and with direction and with purpose.'

Talley said there are a lot of scammers online preying on people's emotions and it's much easier to get taken than you'd think. He said all families should be talking to each other about what to look out for.

"Don't dismiss those red flags just because you want to believe something."