The Love Scammer from Zimbabwe Successfully Targets a Canadian Woman
[Published 10/21/2023] In September and October, we spoke to a Canadian woman who had been victimized by a romance scammer. Based on a fake document used by this romance scammer, we are now certain that this scammer is the “Love Scammer from Zimbabwe” whom we have written about in several articles, including “I Love You, Bail Me Out!” In that article, first published in 2019, this scammer pretended to be a man named David Aapro. This romance scammer used the same “court document” from 2019 in this scam against this Canadian woman. We’ve documented 34 aliases used by this scammer and now we have many more. This scammer now calls himself Boyan Chumak. Boyan claimed to be a freelance mechanical engineer who works on ship engines, currently living in Buffalo, New York but from Sofia, Bulgaria. (His phone number used an area code from Buffalo, NY as well.) He was about to go offshore for a job. (This is a common theme often used by this scammer from Zimbabwe.) To protect her identity, we’ll call the victim “Maggie.” Maggie is age 46 and a retail clerk. She met Boyan on the dating app called Hinge on July 19, 2023. Sadly, over a couple of months, Maggie sent Boyan 67,000 Canadian dollars (about $49,000 USD).
Boyan’s profile said he was age 37, Christian and 178 cm tall. Almost immediately after meeting Boyan on Hinge, he asked Maggie if they could continue their conversation on Whatsapp. She agreed. This continued for several days. Maggie shared all of her Whatsapp conversations with us, as well as the dozens of photos they shared with each other. We were struck at both the skill of this scammer to connect both emotionally and personally with Maggie. This scammer presented himself as both vulnerable and cautious, as if he was afraid of being hurt or scammed by a stranger. For example, on July 20, one day after they met on Hinge, Boyan and Maggie starting chatting on Whatsapp early in the morning. Their chat began just after 8:00 AM and went on all day long, until after 10:00 pm. Below is a brief excerpt of their conversation at around 9:45 pm that evening. Note how this scammer artfully asks a sensitive question and then suggests that they take things slowly, and that they “have to be careful” so they aren’t taken advantage of! Maggie was moved by his sincerity and sensitivity. But it was all just an act! This low-life bastard has used this tact with other victims we’ve talked with!
Boyan Chumak: May I ask, why are you on hinge?
Maggie: Sure, to look for a long term relationship
Maggie: And you?
Boyan Chumak: Looking for same thing as you, but then I’d like to start with being friends, get to know each other better and see how things play out from there
Boyan Chumak: I like to go with the flow
Maggie: Me too
Boyan Chumak: Any luck with that yet?
Maggie: Not yet, and I met scammer as well, when I found out about it I just ignore them
Maggie: And luck for you?
Boyan Chumak: Really? One has to be careful these days you know
Boyan Chumak: Nope, I’m pretty new on the app
Boyan Chumak: What was your experience with them, id like to know so I don’t fall for one someday
Maggie: Yup, thank God I didn’t fall into the trap
Maggie: At the beginning they’ll try to talk with you for anything, after awhile and gain your trust they might say they have something about investment or money
Maggie: Too be honest I’m new to the dating app too
Boyan Chumak: We just have to be careful
Maggie: But sometime I know how the people like by telling the profile, photos and the way they’re talking with me is a nice guy or not
Maggie: Yes, sometime people being too aggressive is no good
Boyan Chumak: I see
Boyan Chumak: It’s quite a different experience when it’s the opposite sex
Boyan Chumak: I guess
Maggie: Both end need to be caution too
Boyan Chumak: Yeah
They continued to text for days, every day. The romance scammer was working hard to build trust and a sense of caring and connection with Maggie.
As she should have, Maggie asked Boyan to video chat after three days of texting. However, Boyan said that he wouldn’t because he had once been blackmailed by a woman using video chat. But he agreed to a short phone call. However, Boyan appeared to be a caring man who really wanted to get to know Maggie. He seemed very empathetic and sensitive. In fact, after just a few days of communication, Boyan requested that they both delete their dating profiles and continue to focus their attention only on each other. Maggie agreed. Over the next month, Maggie traded many dozens of pictures with the man she thought was Boyan Chumak. And this clever romance scammer sent Maggie more than 40 photos stolen from a Russian ship engineer, named Andrej K.
About a week after meeting Boyan, and speaking with him daily, he said he was leaving to work a job in Malaysia. Unfortunately, the Internet service on the new job site was very bad and he couldn’t use his iPhone there either. (This is also a common theme used by this scammer because it gives him an excuse for limiting the type and quality of communication with the victim.) Boyan claimed to be a world traveler and this seemed to be supported by the photos he posted in his social media account. However, we’re certain that some of these photos are photoshopped and not real. For example, this photo below seems to show Boyan Chumak in front of a famous landmark in Buenos Aires, Argentina called Circulo Militar (Army Club). But the image of this man, Boyan, was dropped in front of this photo using photo-editing software. Magnifying the original image confirms this because parts of his body do not match the resolution of the background around him. (Manipulating photos using software like Photoshop is an important skill often used by the Professional Love Scammer from Zimbabwe. You can see similar manipulated photos when he pretended to be David Aapro, as shown in our article I Love You, Bail Me Out and when he pretended to be Anthony Fausberg, as shown in our article I Love You, Bail Me Out Again.)
Boyan Chumak would sometimes leave voice messages on Maggie’s phone. Here is one of the last messages he left for her in mid-September. What is important for readers to recognize is that the voice you hear presents the accent of a black African man, and is NOT the accent of a Bulgarian caucasian man speaking English. (Also, if you visit our article about the Zimbabwe scammer and scroll down to the “Update” posted on March 11, 2022, you’ll hear an audio file recorded by one of this man’s many victims. She was speaking with the Zimbabwe scammer pretending to be “Jason Lindvig.” We believe that the man in that recording is the same man in this recording of “Boyan Chumak.” What do you think?)
This romance scammer successfully used several tricks to convince Maggie that he needed her help to move money from his bank account to pay for different equipment and services he needed for his work and travel to and from his ship at sea. For example, the most significant and costly for Maggie, was when Boyan needed to spend money from his own bank account for ship repair equipment through a company called Ligenic Hubs Plc (https://ligenichubs.com). This company is a fake company and claims to have been founded in 2009 but the domain was registered in January, 2022. (Its website is now offline.) Boyan sent Maggie an invoice from this fake company to show her the equipment he had ordered and needed to pay for from his bank account. But Boyan claimed that his Bank’s security wouldn’t allow large transactions to be made from a non-identified location at sea. Boyan asked Maggie if she would help him make these money transfers from his account to pay the company Ligenic Hubs. He was willing to give her access to his bank account. His bank was called States Enterprise Bank (https://statesenterprisefinance.com/) and what Maggie didn’t realize was that States Enterprise Bank is a completely FAKE BANK! She logged in as Boyan and saw that he had more than 1.8 million Euros in his account!
Maggie discovered that when she tried to move Boyan’s money from his fake bank account to the fake company Ligenic Hubs LLC to pay for the needed equipment, she was asked to pay VAT and other taxes and fees. However, she couldn’t pay these taxes and fees with Boyan’s account funds! Maggie had to pay these fees with her own REAL money. She even got into a text conversation with someone from the bank to try to understand why her fee and tax payment couldn’t come from Boyan’s account. This was, of course, a BIG part of this scam! (No doubt, her chat with someone at the bank was likely the Zimbabwe scammer who was pretending to be “Boyan!”) As you would guess, Boyan told Maggie that he would pay her back if she paid these taxes and fees and she believed him, especially because he had plenty of money in his bank account! But she never received any returned payments from Boyan, just excuses.
As apart of the equipment payment scheme during the month of August 2023, Maggie wired money to many different people’s accounts around the world who either “represented” the fake equipment company or represented themselves as Customs Agents collecting the duties and taxes in different parts of the world. These scam names and emails included this list of 10 people:
- Mrs. Kirsten Gitte, Line Manager for Ligenic Hub LLC. LigenicHubSales@outlook.com and Sales@ligenichubs.net (ligenichubs.net was also registered in January, 2022 and NOT in 2009)
- Mr. Joseph Kolawale, 15 Mill Street North, Brampton, ON L6x1s5 Canada
- Mr. Benjamin Joseph Effanga, firstname.lastname@example.org (5 payments were sent to him!)
- Milagros Oades, email@example.com
- Luis R Quinones, Bronx, New York
- Tina Wirth, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Musurmanova Nazakat, Subang Jaya (city), Selangor (province) Malaysia
- Onyeka Rowland Okereke-Iheme, email@example.com Okute Mmiri Logistics claims to be a “Cargo & Freight Company” but only shows up on this Facebook page with hardly any information. @okutemmirilogistics
- Nor Azlina Binti Razali, in Malaysia
- David Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
(This now brings the list of aliases used by the Zimbabwe scammer to more than 49, since 2018.)
After Maggie sent many thousands of Canadian dollars for these taxes and fees, Boyan told her he was coming to see her in Canada. He had professed his love for Maggie and she believed him. He said he would take care of all of her expenses on his behalf when he got to Canada. However, at the airport in Malaysia, Boyan Chumak was arrested because he had overstayed his visa! He needed Maggie’s help, once again, to bail him out of jail! (See the screenshot below of his “official” court document.) This was, of course, another part of the scam and it has been used many times by the Zimbabwe Scammer, as we’ve documented in our articles I Love You, Bail Me Out and I Love You, Bail Me Out Again. For example, look carefully below at the court document that Boyan sent to Maggie from Malaysia and then look at the court document that David Aapro sent to his victim from Cypress back in 2019. Remarkably, logos, names and even signatures are identical between these two fake documents!
Overall, Maggie ended up sending his romance scammer a total of $67,000 Canadian dollars (about $49,000 USD) because she trusted this man and thought he cared deeply about her. She wanted to help him because she cared for him as well, and thought he would be able to easily pay her back since she saw he had plenty of money in his bank account. But it was all a lie. The lies told by this scammer are very similar to the stories this scammer from Zimbabwe has used for years. We have spoken to many of his victims. Also, keep in mind that the Boyan’s accent heard in his voice message is similar to the accents we’ve collected from other women targeted by the Zimbabwe scammer.
Note that this romance scammer will delete his dating profile once he has a potential victim in order to minimize his pseudonym from being found and exposed while he tries to groom his victim. However, this doesn’t stop this scammer from using the same photos, or photos of the same man with other names, on other dating apps. In fact, Maggie told us that she recently found “Boyan’s” photos under other names on other dating apps. She shared this link with us in October posted on TikTok by @CatchtheCatfish123 on July 27. The video shows lots of photos of the Russian ship mechanic and engineer named Andrej K. Andrej’s photos that are being taken and used by romance scammers and some of them were sent to Maggie by “Boyan.” Here is the same photo as above of “Boyan Chumak” but listed as “Andrew Solomon” on the dating site LoveHabibi.com:
(The REAL Andrej K appears to have an Instagram account using the last name of Kanyuk: https://www.instagram.com/kanyuk_maritime/ )
The skills of this romance scammer are exceptional in many ways, which explains why he appears to be so successful in his scams. Besides his ability to connect emotionally with his victims and build a trusting relationship quickly, as well as his photoshop skills to manipulate images, he has collected a wealth of images to support his phony narrative of working at sea. For example, on July 22 at 7:51 AM, Maggie asked Boyan “Have your morning coffee yet?” Just 30 seconds later, Boyan Chumak responded on Whatsapp with “On it” and then another 30 seconds after that he sent Maggie this image….
Maggie told us that she is very concerned that this scammer may try to hurt her. We tried to reassure her that this was extremely unlikely! We’ve personally spoken to more than a dozen female victims of romance scams and none of them ever reported being threatened by these scammers. All these scammers want is money and we’re 100% certain that they are located in another country, such as the Zimbabwe scammer, and far away from their victims! We did tell Maggie that her scammer will likely try to contact her for weeks, and perhaps months. He doesn’t give up easily once he’s been successful. Thankfully, Maggie is doing OK in response to this horrible breach of trust and theft. (Other women have suffered much more emotional pain and stress.) Maggie also told us that she cannot tell her own family about being victimized by this bastard for fear that they will judge her badly. She said that she waited to tell a close friend until September, weeks after sending thousands of dollars of payments. Sadly, if she had shared this experience with family or friends, they might have seen what Maggie could not see and advised her to step away. Maggie also told us that using Hinge and meeting Boyan Chumak was her very first experience using a dating app. We urged her to be extremely careful using any dating app. We emphasized that it is a serious red flag when someone she meets online is unable to have a video chat with her and/or needs financial help!
Clearly, the Zimbabwe scammer is a professional. We’ve been hearing from his victims for years and we doubt he is about to stop now.