Four KZN women swindled out of R97 000 after being conned by bogus pilot

According to RUSA this is the image that the scamster sends to women. Picture: RUSA

According to RUSA this is the image that the scamster sends to women. Picture: RUSA

Published Jun 7, 2023


Four KZN women have allegedly been conned out of thousands of Rands by a man who claimed to be a pilot working in the United States of America.

According to Prem Balram of the Reaction Unit SA, the women contacted Rusa offices to complain about being contacted by the same person.

‘’The man introduced himself as Ravi Kumar, a single airline pilot residing in Los Angeles, California, in the US.

“He sends out friend requests to women on Facebook, and during a chat on Facebook Messenger, he asks for a contact number.

“The women are then contacted on WhatsApp using the number +39 3510164225. The prefix +39 is the International Dialling Code for Italy in Europe,’’ Balram said.

He said after chatting to the women for a few weeks, he asks for their home addresses so he can send them gifts.

‘’The women are sent images of boxes containing $15 000 and the man professes his love to them. He promises to visit South Africa to marry them,’’ Balram said.

He said, thereafter, the fake pilot claims that the boxes, supposedly packed with gifts and cash, is being withheld at Customs.

‘’He also claims that his bank cards were lost, and he is stuck at the airport and requests R5000 on each occasion, saying the boxes are with Customs. The women were collectively scammed out of R97 000,’’ Balram said.

Some of the conversations between the fake pilot and the KZN women. Picture: RUSA/Se-Anne Rall

If you think this story sounds partially familiar, then you’ve watched the Netflix hit, The Tindler Swindler, the story of Israeli conman Shimon Hayut (also known as Simon Leviev), who wooed women and swindled his victims out of millions.

Hayut, who called himself the ‘’Prince of Diamonds,’’ asked the women to take out American Express credit cards and hounded them to increase their spending limits and loan him cash that he never repaid.

– Always approach any new online acquaintance with caution.

– Before getting too invested in anything, you should do a bit of homework on the person first.

Online dating is not only limited to dating sites. With social media having become more integral to our daily lives, many people find love on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and several other platforms.

And with social networks making it easier than ever for people to connect with each other, it’s become a prime playground for scammers looking to get their hands on your money.