KUALA LUMPUR - Twice, 31-year-old Sean Lee waited in vain for his online Filipina girlfriend to arrive at KLIA.
But on both occasions, despite having paid for her tickets, his dream girl failed to show up.
Lee had met the woman who referred to herself as Sales Vincess through an online dating website.
Relating the incident, MCA Public Service and Complaints Department chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong said the woman had convinced Lee that she was from a poor family and was unable to secure a job to make ends meet.
Lee then transferred a total of RM11,789 (S$4,569) to Vincess to help her.
He even bought her plane tickets from the Philippines to Malaysia on Aug 15 and Nov 22 respectively, said Chong at Wisma MCA yesterday.
On both days, Lee spent hours waiting at the airport only to find no one by the name of Sales Vincess there.
Chong added that Lee still harboured hopes of meeting his dream girl when he sought help at MCA.
"Only after I showed him the number of such complaints I received did he realise he had been cheated," said Chong.
For 2014, MCA has received complaints of 14 cases involving online love scams. Of these, 10 of the victims had even stripped naked for their online love interests, only to find themselves being blackmailed later.
They were told that if they did not pay up, videos of them in the nude would be leaked online, revealed Chong.
The 14 victims lost up to RM87,000.
In an attempt to help a complainant, Chong even called the phone number of one of the blackmailers by pretending to be the victim's father.
He was greeted by a man speaking English with a heavy African accent and who hung up after informing Chong that he had been sleeping.
Chong believes the scams are the work of syndicates that specialises in cheating lonely hearts online.
He is perplexed as to why Malaysians could be so trusting towards people they only met online.
In 2013, a woman was cheated of some RM250,000 and even had to resort to borrowing from loan sharks to pay off her blackmailer, Chong said.
According to him, the syndicates prey on the generally sympathetic nature of Malaysians.
Chong urged those who have fallen for these scams to lodge a police report or to seek help from him.