A man posing as an engineer living in Malaysia scammed a New Jersey woman looking for love on a popular dating website out of $86,000, according to cops.
The Montclair woman had met the alleged American civil engineer on Match.com several months ago. She was wooed by the pitiless lothario and the woman developed a relationship with the man over several months.
The man, who called himself Maxwell Yas, eventually told the woman that he was in financial arrears and needed her help.
Before long she found herself duped into wiring the scam artist large sums of money, cops said.
The man then mailed the Montclair woman a check for $1 million and asked her to hold onto it because he was having trouble with Malaysian banks.
The check, unsurprisingly, was fraudulent, Montclair police said.
By the time the woman realized she was being played and reported the incident to police last Wednesday she had already lost $86,000 to the cheat.
Local cops this week urged residents to be aware that this is a common scam conducted on the internet.
“Actors seek out people looking to connect on the internet,” according to a release. “They take advantage of victims who are seeking a relationship or companionship. Once they gain a level of trust they drop some kind of tragic story that has impacted them financially and ask the victim to help.”
The alias “Maxwell Yas” has been connected to similar online scams at least as far back as early 2012. Women around the country have also reported identical scams being carried out by a man using the alias “Serio Jivin" or "Sergio Jivin."
Scammers have used the photos of a former New Jersey man named Mark Sugar in their scams repeatedly for several years.
“This has been a nightmare,” Sugar said Thursday evening. “I’ve heard about this several times.”
Sugar, who is in a committed relationship with a woman he met on Match.com in 2011, said he’s been told several times that other people have been using his photo on the dating website.
“I’ve been told that I’ve been living in Texas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia,” said Sugar, who was unaware of the latest incident until he read about it on Patch.com.
Sugar, who currently lives in Florida, told Patch.com that he has no connections with anyone in Malaysia and has contacted Match.com representatives about the fraudulent use of his profile photos. One photo used on a bogus profile even includes a shot of his then 13-year-old son.