by The West Australian Updated November 29, 2011
A Perth woman who was stung for $18,000 in a well-organised scam while on holiday in Bali has warned others to keep their wits about them while travelling.
Delys Langford and her husband Norm were on the trip of a lifetime last year when they fell prey to a confidence trick. It led to them gradually handing their savings to a young couple who befriended them in a shopping centre.
Although online warnings about the scam date back to at least 2005, Mrs Langford said she had not realised she was being swindled until it was too late.
She said the locals charmed her and she even ignored warnings from her son that it was a scam.
“You’ve got to meet these people to know what they’re like,” Mrs Langford said. “They’re not like gangsters off the street, they’re like really nice people. I did think of it (Bali) as a paradise … but it’s not.”
Mrs Langford, 67, said the man told her his sister would soon move to Perth to take up a job as a nurse at Royal Perth Hospital.
He had asked them whether they would come to dinner to meet his mother and help to convince her that Perth was a safe place to live.
They were driven to dinner in a van and taken straight into a locked compound, but neither the mother nor the sister was home. Within minutes they were duped into believing a rich businessman was visiting to play blackjack. They were sucked into watching the game and convinced to lend money to their host, who showed them a winning hand.
They also caught a peek of the businessman’s losing hand.
But the wagers on this single hand gradually grew.
Three times over three days, Mrs Langford withdrew $1000 to lend to her host. When the Langfords were not at the compound, the cards were sealed.
After five days, they returned to Perth without their $3000.
Their son said it was a scam but Mrs Langford was convinced otherwise and returned to Bali that evening with $15,000. She lent the money to the host because the businessman had raised the bet to $60,000.
It was only when Mrs Langford handed over the $15,000 and was told her host required yet another $6000 to match the bet that she realised she was being conned.
She convinced them she would fly home to Perth and return with another $6000 and then she left. She has not returned.
She said the scammers continued to call her after her return to Perth.
Mrs Langford said she and her husband could now not retire as soon as they had hoped.