Naïve Vietnamese women have fallen victim to the scams of foreign suspects who had taken advantage of their greed.
The facts of the case were announced during a conference on social media crimes organized by the Ministry of Public Security in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.
Con artists have been taking advantage of the innocence and greed of women in Vietnam to talk the victims into paying them a large sums of money, a representative of the ministry reported during the meeting.
The scammers are mainly from Africa with several accomplices living in Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries, the police official said, adding that several Vietnamese suspects had also aided the crime.
In one recent case, P.T.T.B., a 42-year-old woman from Hanoi, became friends on Facebook with a man named Matt Hillary in early 2016.
Matt introduced himself as an old friend from the United States and a soldier fighting in Iraq.
Following several conversations, the foreigner expressed his feelings for B., stating his intention to start a long-term relationship with the Vietnamese woman.
In order to show his affection, Matt said he would send B. a present via post.
The victim was contacted by a person claiming to an employee of a delivery service a few days later.
She was asked to pay VND17 million (US$744.5) in order to receive the parcel. After B.’s payment, the ‘employee’ continued asking for money as ‘under the table’ cash for customs officers.
The suspect also claimed that the shipment contained $2.5 million in cash to convince B. to make further payments.
Having not received the ‘gift’ after agreeing to pay some VND520 million (US$22,775), she decided to report the case to police.
Statistics from the Ministry of Public Security revealed that hundreds of similar cases have occurred across Vietnam, with victims losing billions of dong (VND1 billion = 43,798).
However, not many suspects have been arrested, and the money cannot be refunded as it has been wired to foreign countries.
Among the cases, police in Ho Chi Minh City have received 58 reports and arrested 21 suspects, two of whom were Nigerian.
Officers in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho have also captured six suspects, of whom two are also from Nigeria, for executing similar scams.