Damien Rider first became suspicious he was the victim of an elaborate scam after being asked to hand over $4000 and spend almost six hours in a car with a stranger after stepping off a plane in Indonesia.
The Australian endurance athlete had landed in Jakarta from Sydney last year when he was confronted with a request for cash and a five-and-a half-hour drive to a remote location by a man holding a sign with Mr Riderâs name on it.
Mr Rider, who is also a motivation speaker, had been lured to the popular island destination- at his own expense – on the promise of a lucrative TV contract.
However, as he would learn weeks after returning to Australia, it turned out to be a hollow promise of international scammers.
In an interview with 2GBâs Ben Fordham today, Mr Rider said he had been roped into the con after being contacted by individuals claiming to be Wendy Murdoch, Rupert Murdochâs ex-wife, and Ms Murdochâs assistants.
Mr Rider said they wanted to discuss a possible television series idea – to be filmed in Indonesia – after reading about him in the Australian edition of Menâs Health. Mr Rider was on the cover of the local magazine in 2015.
âI spoke to someone claiming to be Wendy Murdoch and yeah thatâs right they said they had a TV series that they wanted to do about pushing the limits,â Mr Rider told Fordham.
“Everything fit with who I am or what I do. They sent me NDAs, pilot scripts, they sent me schedules of where weâre going to go.â
Despite admitting to feeling niggling sense of uncertainty, Mr Rider said each time he attempted to expose the scam, it revealed itself âas legitâ.
Even when Mr Rider queried the $4000 and travelling to âthe middle of nowhere in Javaâ, one of the assistants reassured him.
He said he was taken to a five-star hotel where it was all paid for before being taken to a local art exhibition to learn about the local culture. It was after this that he handed over $1000.
âI thought you know what everythingâs checking out here,â he said. âAm I being paranoid?â
However, he said it was at this point things got âeven weirderâ.
âAt night I was having what turned out to be a three-way conversation with an assistant, with Wendy Murdoch and with Lorraine Jobs (Steve Jobsâ widow),â Mr Rider said.
After finally feeling too uncomfortable about the situation, he returned to Australia and phoned New South Wales police. He claims he was bounced between the Australian Federal Police, Interpol and back to the AFP before phoning his local New South Wales police station.
âI contacted NSW Police asked for the most senior person at the station and spoke to them. He was just kind of laughing off saying âwhat do you want us to do about it?â,â he said.
It was at this point Mr Rider took matters into his own hands. He contacted Wendy Murdoch to alert her that her name was being used in the scam.
Shortly after, Mr Rider received an email from a representative from K2 Intelligence who are working with the FBI.
âI was the only one who documented so my driver, his driverâs license was used for the hotel registration, the credit card that was used for the registration. Everything which the FBI hadnât had,â he said.
âIf it had have been someone else who knows what could have happened â five and a half hours in the middle of nowhere.â
Â© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019