Imagine losing everything online. It is not only possible but it is happening. The 2NEWS Investigators uncover some of the warning signs.
Douglas Butler says, "If she could think of a lie to tell my Dad about why she needed money – she told it."
Butler says his 80-year-old father lost his life savings, more than $2 million, to a woman he met online.
U.S. Postal Inspector Amy Kerkof says, "She told him she needed the money for breast cancer surgery, purchase a vehicle to fix up her home and also pay off debt to leave her job and be with him."
Baker says, "He was very conservative, frugal and… the idea that he was handing out money… he would hand over 100-thousand dollars at a time….never occurred to anyone."
Postal Inspectors began tracking bank records, and found the suspect was spending the money on a new house, new equipment for her family farm and additional land.
Kerkof says, "This case was rather compelling and heartbreaking because the victim suffers Alzheimer's and was so far gone… didn't realize he was a victim."
Inspectors say criminals often prey on the vulnerable and elderly.
"Currently, we are working on getting funds back to the victims. The farm equipment and land and other assets are being liquidated – so they can pay for his medical care."
Bakers says, "To me, when someone steals everything from you – it's everything. It doesn't matter what the dollar value was."
It is not only important to keep tabs on what your children are doing online, but your parents as well.