Police: Scammer pretending to be celebrity swindles Sioux Falls woman of $70,000

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 12:58 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Authorities say a Sioux Falls woman is out over $70,000 after she was scammed on social media.

Police spokesperson Sam Clemens said the 59-year-old victim met the scammer on Facebook. The woman thought the person was a famous actor.

The scammer asked the victim for money for several different things, including buying land and for charitable donations. The victim sent money in a variety of ways, including cash, checks, and bitcoin. Clemens said the rough estimate of total money lost was over $70,000.

Clemens said scams like this where the suspect claims to be someone else is not as common as others, but they still happen. He said scammers work to establish trust and eventually ask money, usually for something “designed to tug on the heart strings.”

“The biggest thing I would caution is that if you meet somebody, specifically online or through social media, before you send any kind of money, gift cards, anything of value - do some checking. Do some homework,” Clemens said. “Once that money is sent, there’s not a whole lot of success in tracking it down, and finding out who the suspect is.”

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