Scam victim claims 'strong emotional bond' with online lover, a convicted fraudster

A BNZ customer has refused to admit he's in an online 'relationship' with a convicted scammer - even after her repeated requests for his money.

The customer is said to have met the scammer online before forming a "relationship", says BNZ spokesperson Sam Durbin. 

The woman initially asked the customer for some money to help her out of a difficult situation - yet six months on, the customer has transferred more than $60,000 in payments to his online lover.

"The scammer has been exploiting the romantic feelings the customer has," Durbin told Newshub. "The requests kept coming."

After the bank was alerted to the transactions through their monitoring, BNZ attempted to intervene.

Further investigation showed the woman had been convicted of a similar fraud previously.

"We have spoken with our customer, flagging our concerns that they were being scammed," says Durbin.

"Despite all this, the scammer has formed a strong emotional bond with the customer and still believes she has genuine intentions."

This example of a 'romance scam' highlights just how persuasive and manipulate online fraudsters can be.

"Scammers prey on our best qualities, our trust and compassion, and take advantage of good people," says Durbin.

BNZ is continuing to talk to the customer about the dubious "relationship".

New research from BNZ shows that 35 to 44 year olds are a prime target for scammers as well as the elderly.

Fifty-eight percent of Kiwis who fall victim to scams do not report the crime.

BNZ has developed new resources to help New Zealanders identify some of the common tactics employed by scammers. The tools aim to prevent Kiwis from falling victim to fraudsters.