OREM — Police are warning about the potential dangers of online dating sites after a woman was swindled out of approximately $200,000.
About a year ago, a 39-year-old Orem woman met a man on the online dating site, LDSLinkUp.com. The website advertises itself as "the world's largest LDS social network, where tens of thousands of church members from over 50 countries meet new people through networks of friends."
The man, who claimed his name was Richard Smart Frisch Jr. and was a businessman from the United Kingdom, started having conversations back and forth with the woman, said Orem Police Sgt. Craig Martinez.
After awhile, he got comfortable enough with her to start asking for money. He would have her wire money of various amounts overseas, to several locations, Martinez said.
The amounts ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 at a time, he said. And the reasons varied from business ventures to medical bills.
"He said one time he had been kidnapped and needed ransom money," Martinez said.
On Monday, after about a year of having contact with the man, the woman went to police.
"It's highly unlikely we'll get any of that money back," Martinez said, noting that his detectives would be trying their hardest to recover as much as they could.
Martinez said he has seen other cases of people being scammed through online dating sites. In one case, a male victim was convinced he was engaged to a woman and was going to marry her.
This is the first time Martinez has heard of a victim in Orem being swindled on that particular social network, he said, adding that he doesn't believe it was just LDS people that the scammers targeted.
"I think they're targeting people who are looking for online love," he said. "I think it's everywhere."
The case should serve as a reminder to people to make sure they really know the identity of the person on the other end of the computer before sending money, police said.
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