Grandad victim of scammers

A Dongara grandfather who lost a record $700,000 in three years in an online inheritance and investment scam says he thought he was reaching out to people who needed help.

The man, who did not want to be named, was so convinced by the fraudsters that he ignored warnings from the Department of Consumer Protection.

The amount the grandfather lost is the highest on record for Project Sunbird, a joint police and Consumer Protection operation to warn people who send big amounts of money to places such as Ghana, Nigeria or Sierra Leone that they may be caught up in fraud.

It comes as detectives investigate a suspected Nigerian scammer linked to the suspicious death of Wagin great-grandmother Jette Jacobs. Ms Jacobs was found dead last month in a guesthouse in South Africa, where she had gone to marry Nigerian man Jesse Orowo Omokoh, to whom she sent $120,000.

Police have revealed more than $1 million has been sent to scammers in West Africa from the Mid West in recent months, prompting major fraud squad detectives to visit 23 fraud victims from the area this week.

The Dongara grandfather began to send the money three years ago after starting an online friendship with a woman he believed to be a nurse living in Britain.

She told him she wanted him to take on her $26 million inheritance fund and use the inheritance to support poor children in Zimbabwe.

"I went into it because I thought I could help a lot of underprivileged kids," he said.

The man sent thousands of dollars to accounts to cover fees to release the funds.

In a second scam, the man was contacted by a woman who claimed to have lost her husband and was left caring for two children.

He was sent a credit card and withdrew $200 - an amount he believed to be from the inheritance fund.

When the card was blocked, the scammers said it was because another tax had to be paid.

Police believe fraudsters used information from the inheritance scam for a confidence trick to get the man to invest in a property in Spain.

"My biggest problem is I've got a big heart and I like to help people and if you give me a sob story like that, it goes to my heart," he said.

He told his story to warn others.

The fraudulent insurance and inheritance documents sent to the man.

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