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Marlena Karbowski/Westpac | YKC.com
Uplifting News

Smart Banker Saves Poor Elderly Woman From Evil Romance Scam by Her ‘Online Boyfriend’

He stole $2 Million from her life savings.

Marlena Karbowski, is the Liverpool banker who found herself sucked into a modern-day love story — with a dark twist.


Elderly Woman Was Going to Sell Her Home for Her Mystery “Boyfriend”

It all began when a sweet elderly woman entered the Westpac branch Karbowski worked at. But despite appearances, Karbowski couldn't help but notice there was something suspicious about this woman.

When the client (who remained anonymous) approached Karbowski's desk, she revealed her shocking intentions for showing up that day and it instantly raised a red flag for Karbowski. This elderly client had suddenly decided she wanted to sell her home and cancel her Westpac home insurance.

Even though Karbowski didn't know what exactly was going on, one thing was absolutely clear. The elderly woman – who had been a loyal Westpac client for years and did not have a diverse history of investing — was acting out of character. The only question was what — or who — was making her act so irrationally?

When Karbowski probed further, she received a vague answer from her client about "helping her son." But this surface-level explanation didn't satisfy Karbowski. Her instincts kicked in so she delved deeper. Finally, during a private conversation with her client, the dark truth hidden beneath the surface was revealed.

Her Gut Instinct Knew There Was More to This Story

woman speaking to a person wearing a red outfit sitting opposite herwoman speaking to another woman sitting opposite herWestpac Banking

"I asked her to send me photos of the guy and I put them into a Google reverse image search. There were so many different pictures of this guy, one was of a model somewhere in America, so then we knew it was a scam,” recounted Karbowski.

After a brief investigation, Karbowski discovered the elderly woman's true mission. She was seeking funds to secure her "boyfriend's" release from imprisonment overseas. The only way she knew how to get the money was to sell her home. Karbowski calmly asked to see photos of her alleged online beau. It didn't take the tech-savvy Karbowski much time to discover a disturbing pattern.

Her “Guardian Angel” Rescued Her in the Nick of Time

A reverse Google search heartbreakingly revealed that this mysterious "boyfriend" was not who he said he was. Many of the photos the woman had received from her purported beau were found online, stolen from other people's accounts with different names. When Karbowski realized her client had already negotiated the sale of her home, she felt sick to her stomach.

Due to the immediate nature of the matter, Karbowski made it her number one priority to save this elderly woman from homelessness. Fortunately, the settlement of the property was still one week away so her elderly client still had time to cancel the sale of her house. But she wasn't finished with her just yet.

Hand-in-hand Karbowski walked her client over to the Liverpool Police Station. She encouraged her to report the crime, ensuring that the necessary steps were taken to protect her client from further harm.

elderly couple laughing and drinking coffee outside a restaurantelderly couple laughing and drinking coffee outside a restaurantJacob Lund Photography / Creative Commons

As Marlena Karbowski spoke to the elderly woman, a single question made the whole puzzle come into focus. With a gentle, unassuming voice, Karbowski asked, “When was the last time he took you out for coffee?” The silence that followed was more revealing than any words could be. The elderly woman’s eyes flickered with the painful realization that she had never actually met her "boyfriend" in person. In that moment, it all became clear to both of them.

"We cried together. We care and when we see those red flags, we act.”
- Marlena Karbowski

Karbowski knew this was the turning point. It wasn’t just about money or property; it was about unraveling the emotional manipulation and lies that had ensnared her client. The air in the room grew heavier as they sat together, acknowledging the gravity of the situation. Karbowski offered a comforting presence as the elderly woman processed the truth, tears welling in her eyes.

This simple question was the key to unlocking a story of betrayal that had been expertly woven by the scammer. Karbowski's instincts had paid off, and she was ready to guide her client through the difficult steps that would follow.

Do You Think a Loved One Is Involved in a Romance Scam? Here Are a Few Simple Tips:

      • Trust Your Instincts: Sometimes, our gut feelings speak louder than words. If something feels off, don't ignore it.
      • Ask Probing Questions: Delve deeper into their story with gentle inquiries that encourage honesty and reflection.
      • Verify Information: Empower them to verify the identity of their online partner through simple checks and searches.
      • Seek Support: Let them know they're not alone. Connect them with resources and support networks that offer guidance and assistance.
      • Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect foul play, don't hesitate to reach out to the authorities or financial institutions for help. Together, we can protect our loved ones from the pitfalls of online deception.

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