‘Russian astronaut’ scams woman by claiming he needs money to return to earth

He began uploading space photos to his profile in June after finding the 65-year-old Japanese woman on Instagram.

According to VICE, In the Japanese messaging app LINE, he begins communicating with his victim and tells her that he loves her and wants to marry her.

Messages he sent her were reported in Japanese media, “I want to start my life in Japan” and “Saying this 1,000 times won’t be enough, but I’ll keep saying it. I love you.”

In order for him to return to Earth, he needed money, he persuaded the woman. As for the expense of a rocket to fly him from the space station to Japan, he explained that it was to cover landing fees in Japan.

It was reported in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun that this woman, believing he would be her future husband, paid him roughly 4.4 million yen (about £27,000) in five installments between August 19 and September 5.
The case is now being investigated as a romance scam by the police. The criminal creates a fake online identity to gain a victim’s trust so that they can send them money.

Increasing numbers of crimes of this kind have been reported in Japan. It was estimated that 14,498 of these crimes took place in the country last year, which is almost 67 percent more than ten years ago.


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