Massachusetts woman reveals how she lost $2.5 million in online romance scam
Cynthia Tsai, an attorney living in Newton, Massachusetts, recalled how she was going through “the most vulnerable time [she had] never been in [her] life” during a recent interview with the Boston Herald. She noted how she had her stomach removed in January 2021, after being diagnosed with gastric cancer months earlier and her 16-year-old husband, whom she had not physically seen for three months before. his diagnosis, told him he wanted to break up. His cancer also returned in September 2021.
A month later, she received a message on WhatsApp from a man named Jimmy, who asked her if she was Linda. After telling him he had the wrong number, they recognized how Chinese they looked from their profile picture on the app, which sparked a new relationship between them.
According to Tsai, Jimmy continued to be there for her when she needed someone to lean on. During their three months of messaging, however, she realized she was being scammed by Jimmy.
Jimmy detailed how involved he was in online cryptocurrency trading and how beneficial it had been for him. While Tsai was initially uninterested, Jimmy sent her screenshots of his alleged comebacks and the money he got. She had also read about billionaire Elon Musk, at the time, and his success through crypto.
Jimmy introduced him to an e-commerce marketplace, which used a similar name to a legitimate site. He also agreed to video call her, to allay her concerns about ‘red flags’ in the market.
He had also made it look like he was giving her “loans” in order to help her grow her crypto success. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, as she ended up donating money to a fake platform and lost $2.5 million.
Talk to The IndependentTsai noted how she won’t be able to get her money back, “because the scam group is outside the United States and likely laundered in different ways.”
“The FBI pretty much told me not to expect him to come back,” she said. “Everything happened through crypto, except for a transfer to the National Bank of Australia.”
She also explained that she is a member of the Global Anti-Scam Organization, which supports “people around the world devastated by cyber investment crimes”, per its official website.
Thanks to the group, Tsai has seen how online scams constantly change. “We realize that scammers don’t pose as handsome Asian men and women, but as people of all nationalities and appearances,” she added. “They are also on all social media platforms, not just dating sites but also LinkedIn. A few victims met their crooks there. We also see now that they are using deep fakes.