Online scammers have reinvented an age-old internet hoax, now posing as a Russian astronaut who needs money to return home to planet Earth.
As ridiculous as it sounds, scammers recently managed to hook a woman living in Japan, who sent 4.4 million yen, or $30,000, to the criminals.
The scammers originally contacted a 65-year-old person who has not been publicly identified by police from Higashi-Omi City in Shiga through Instagram in June 2022, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
According to The Mainichi newspaper, the pair of criminals later communicated through the Japanese messaging application Line, where he explained that he was working on the International Space Station as an astronaut.
The men expressed their desire to start a new life in Japan and “declared their love for the unsuspecting victim,” claiming that one of them would marry her upon their return to Earth.
The scammer reportedly sent messages saying, “I want to start my life in Japan” and “Saying this 1,000 times won’t be enough, but I’ll keep saying it. Love you.”
However, as love stories are wont to do, things quickly got complicated. She claimed that she needed a “landing fee” to return home and establish a new life in Japan.
Between August 19 and September 5, the woman sent a total of 4.4 million yen through five separate bank transfers.
When the person continued to ask for money, the woman became suspicious and decided to consult the police. The Higashi-Omi Police Station is investigating the crime.
Believe it or not, this is not the first astronaut-themed online scam. In 2016, an email scam was circulating in which someone pretended to be the cousin of Nigeria’s first astronaut, Abacha Tunde. According to the email, “Tunde had been left behind on board a Soviet space station when the Soviet Union dissolved.”
However, Abacha Tunde does not exist and there have been no Nigerian astronauts in history.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.