Japanese elderly woman loses BRL 160,000 to scammer who claimed to be a Russian astronaut who needed help to return to Earth | World

A 65-year-old Japanese woman decided to go to the police after an alleged Russian astronaut contacted her asking for money. Before suspecting the fraud, the lady even paid 4.4 million yen (about R$160,000) to the scammer, who said he was in love with her and claimed to need financial assistance to return to Earth.

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According to the newspaper “Yomiuri Shimbun”, the lady met the “astronaut” in June through Instagram. On the scammer’s profile, you can find several photos of the space. In the exchange, the person claimed to work on the International Space Station, where astronauts have limited access to cell phone service.

On LINE, a Japanese messaging app, the scammer repeatedly said he loved the victim and even proposed. “I want to start my life in Japan,” he said in one of the messages, according to TV station Asahi. “Saying it a thousand times won’t be enough, but I’ll keep saying it. I love you.”

Real astronaut makes spacewalk on the ISS — Photo: NASA

In order for the two to be married, however, the “astronaut” would need to return to Earth – and that’s when the requests for money began. Believing it was necessary to defray the alleged fiance’s return trip, the woman paid the estimated 4.4 million yen in five installments from August 19 to September 5.

When the requests for money continued, however, the lady became suspicious and decided to contact the police. Now, agents from the Higashiomi Police Station in Shiga Prefecture are investigating the case.

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