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Russian Grifter Twice Swindles Woman Via Social Network

A young man in Siberia is facing charges after allegedly swindling a woman he met online into paying him money and then reappearing with a show of remorse to trick her again into paying him more, police said.

The young woman from the town of Krasnokamensk in the southern Siberian region of Zabaikalsk met the alleged grifter on a social network, and the two began exchanging friendly messages, police said in a statement Sunday.

But the woman was to learn that "social networks can help to not only find new friends, but to lose money," the police statement said.

First, the man reportedly offered her to buy a tablet computer for 2,000 rubles ($55), and the "trusting girl" transferred the money to his mobile phone account — a common way in Russia of making small payments to pals.

She was to pick up the device later at a home in Krasnokamensk, but the man removed her from her friends list and disconnected his phone after receiving the payment, the statement said.

But he soon reappeared.

Contacting the victim again, the man told her that he was feeling guilty for having cheated her and wanted to repay her the money — but that he needed her bank card information to make the payment, the statement said.

"One can only feel surprised at the trustfulness of the young woman who had already been deceived once, but she gave her bank card information to her 'friend,'" the statement said. "Only after various sums began disappearing from the card, the Krasnokamensk resident contacted police."

After police detained the man, he confessed and repaid the money to the woman, the statement said. A criminal case against him has been sent to court, the statement said, without specifying the charge.

As a final detail, the Interior Ministry added that the young man had a prior criminal record and had been communicating with the woman online while he was serving time in jail.

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