Woman swoons at mobile phone showing astronaut sending her a loveheart. Scammer/criminal hides behind phone

Russian astronaut scammed a woman out of £27,000 by demanding “rocket landing costs” in exchange for their marriage

A man acting as a Russian astronaut in space who needed the money to travel back to Earth to marry a 65-year-old woman in Japan managed to scam her out of £27,350. In June, the man and the woman began chatting on Instagram.

According to TV Asahi, the man’s profile claimed that he was based on the NASA’s International Space Station, where there is limited phone connectivity. He had a lot of pictures of the galaxy in his profile.

After a while, he expressed his love for the unnamed Japanese woman and his intention to merry with her. Not only that, but he also expressed his wish to go to Japan with her so they may start their new life together.

The woman sent the man who would become her husband 4.4 million yen (£27,350) between 19 August and 5 September. He told her he needed thousands to pay for a rocket and landing costs to come home as their online relation evolved.

The victim started to get suspicious about Russian astronaut…

The so-called astronaut said he need the money to pay for a week’s worth of vacation costs, rocket costs from the space station, and the cost of his landing in Japan. She soon started to doubt the man’s intentions as he persisted in demanding more cash, at which point she complaint about Russian astronaut to the police.

Authorities are currently looking at this man for a “romance scam“. The Tinder Swindler, a Netflix documentary about scammer Simon Leviev, who scammed women out of millions of pounds, has brought attention to romance scams. By pretending to be a millionaire diamond heir, Leviev lured women online to get them to give him money.

Before fooling his victims into turning over large sums of money, the international scam artist would impress them with his apparently luxurious lifestyle of private planes, designer clothes, and expensive hotels.

The scammer would attract his next victim by continuing to spend stolen funds, making trips overseas and getting tables in VIP clubs. All using the money he had stolen from them in a complicated Ponzi scheme.

This scam is becoming more common all over the world, not just in Japan. Because so many people fell vulnerable to scammers during the pandemic’s lockdown phase, and the situation has grown increasingly serious.

According to experts, romance scam costs the UK up to £92 million annually, indicating that similar cases are also on the increase in the country. The experts also noted that the Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day seasons are the most common days to experience this kind of crime.

Help your colleagues spot online scams like these, along with phishing emails and other cyber threats by starting your Phishing Tackle security awareness training today with our two-week free trial.

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