Chesterton Tribune



CPD suspects fraud in online dating relationship and African iTune purchases

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A Chesterton resident has reported a possible attempt to defraud him, Chesterton Police said.

According to police, on Monday the man advised that, for some time, he’s been involved in an online dating relationship with a woman whom he knows as Jenny.

Except that her name may actually be Monica. “Ultimately, (the man) is not 100-percent positive of the female’s identity.”

The resident has also had contact with a man calling himself Frank and representing himself to be Jenny’s--or Monica’s--attorney. But “Frank’s identity has also been called into question and is not positively known,” police said.

“While in the relationship, (the resident) would occasionally send money or other items to what he believed to be (Jenny’s [or Monica’s]) residence in Tennessee,” police said. “During that time, (the resident) did advise he thought Frank had attempted, once, to breach security and access bank information but the attempt failed.”

The resident “continued the relationship,” police noted.

Then, approximately two months ago, Jenny (or Monica) and Frank moved to Ghana on the West African coast, where they asked the resident to purchase iTunes cards on their behalf and forward them to Ghana. And on March 16 the two did appear to make a genuine deposit into the resident’s bank account of $6,115.43. With $1,500 of that money, the resident duly purchased iTunes cards, which he has not yet forwarded. He also purchased “what he believed to be food items” for Jenny (or Monica) and Frank, through Ghanamart Inc., in four separate transactions totaling $1,145.68.

“In total, out of the $6,115.43 deposited into his card account, he spent $2,645.68 on items for his African friends,” police said.

The resident, however, “now believes that he is somehow being manipulated and unwittingly involved in a fraud” and accordingly reported the activities to his bank. Yet, as of Monday, the resident has not incurred any financial loss and still maintains in his account the balance of the original deposit. But his bank is “undetermined if those funds will be released to him,” police said.

The resident’s bank account and his credit bureaus have been placed on high alert.



Posted 3/30/2017




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