NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — The new year has brought renewed interest for some in online dating, but with the hope for love comes the potential for scams.
CBS2’s Jessica Schneider spoke with a woman who said even when you think you know someone you’ve met online you should still beware.
Tracy Morris, 48, was looking for love online and was about to give up when she met a man who went by the name of Hassaim Fostok.
“He was very charming; he dressed really well. He took me to dinner, and he paid for everything,” she recalled.
Over several weeks he met her kids and took her out, but then he asked her for money and guaranteed a 6 percent return.
“I thought, that’s a good return on my money, and b) I’d be helping him,” she said.
She gave him $20,000.
Soon after, he convinced her to hand over the entire $200,000 in her 401(k).
“Eventually he said to me, if I didn’t lend him some more money, he can’t pay me back the money he already owes me,” she said.
She did it, but after 60 days Fostok wasn’t paying up. She started incurring penalties and broke it off.
Morris filed a lawsuit, and in discovery found out about his double life.
“Twelve days after I handed him a check for $200,000 he rented a house for his wife and four children,” she said.
A CBS2 news team tried to find Fostok, but he wasn’t home, or at his listed business address.
Stories like Morris’ are why the FBI has an alert warning against online dating scam artists telling people to steer clear if they’re asked for money.
“People are eager to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. In our eagerness we sometimes give away too much,” Associate State Director For NYC AARP, Maggie Castro-Stevens said.
Morris said she now knows what to watch out for.
“Be careful of the flattery, when ‘I love you’ comes out too early,” she said.
Her case goes to court January 25, but she’s not sure she’ll ever get her money back.