SINGAPORE: A 27-year-old man fell victim to another love scam, losing tens of thousands of dollars earmarked for his studies at a private university. Mr Lin met the scammer online, who pretended to be a Malaysian fashion designer working in Singapore.

The woman, who called herself “Anna” on Instagram, followed the man on social media. Mr Lin followed her back, and the two started chatting regularly, talking for as long as one to two hours daily. He came to consider “Anna”, who told him she worked at the luxury fashion house Balenciaga as his girlfriend.

According to a Mothership report, “Anna” told Mr Lin could make extra money on the side by writing reviews for the brand. The report quoted Mr Lin as saying that he had had foot surgery recently, his job prospects were limited, and the opportunity to earn some money was welcome.

But before he could receive the 10 per cent commission “Anna” promised him for the reviews he would write, he first needed to transfer money to a “Balenciaga” account. The account later proved to be fraudulent. On Oct 18, in just one day, Mr Lin made 14 transfers to the account for S$45,590, money he had saved from food deliveries and selling products.

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He received S$116 and S$735 plus S$41 for the first two transactions he made, but “Anna” told him he needed to send more money for his commission to come in. At one point, Mr Lin asked her to return the money he sent. However, she claimed she had already moved the money to her mother’s bank account.

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Finally recognizing that he had been scammed, he stopped answering her messages. “Anna”, however, began sending him angry messages over WhatsApp. He also lodged a police report against her and told her so, and she cursed him further. However, the police told him that the chance he would get the money back was slim.

Upon checking with Balenciaga in Singapore, he discovered that “Anna” lied to him. The loss of his money, which he had set aside for S$5000 monthly tuition fees, was a serious blow to Mr Lin, and he ended up depressed for two weeks, he told Shin Min Daily News.

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Mr Lin plans to apply for financial aid from his school to continue his studies. However, he also has to continue to pay for medical expenses for his foot. Mothership says the student shared his story to warn others to be vigilant and not fall for this type of scam just as he did.

Read also: Love scam victim loses almost S$100K to man she met on dating app/ TISG