A Queensland reality TV show winner was duped out of investment money by an online scam artist his friend met on a dating app.

Justin Hannan, 30, who won 2019 show Instant Hotel with his family's Sunshine Coast Airbnb, will return to reality TV on Sunday on Channel 7's extreme golf putting show Holey Moley, where he will have another chance at a cash prize.

It came months after he fell victim to a forex trading scam last year, having used money he had withdrawn from his superannuation to invest in a business he later discovered didn't exist.

"I took some money out and I had a friend who had met a girl (on dating app Tinder) and was talking about all the money he was making," Hannan said.

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Instant Hotel winners Debbie and Justin
Instant Hotel winners Debbie and Justin

"We started doing some due diligence on a Forex trading platform.

"From what we saw all the documents looked legit, the results looked legit, the platform itself was legit, it was a completely registered platform.

"He had done some weeks and had success so I, as these things happen, thought OK let's try out this as part of the portfolio."

"But after a few weeks passed we realised we had been had."

The scammers had cloned a trading platform and were able to control the data they displayed so it appeared legitimate, as did the winnings that went into an online account displaying the user's profits and losses.

"All of a sudden you go to get your winnings back and the business doesn't exist. It's pretty common in the crypto world and the Forex world, but it was very well done," Hannan said, adding he wasn't sure how much they had lost in the scam.

"I'm not jaded. I took it pretty well. It is what it is. It's more embarrassing than anything. I'm not the first to be duped and I won't be the last."

Justin Hannan, 30, appears on Holey Moley Australia on Sunday night. Picture: Paul A. Broben
Justin Hannan, 30, appears on Holey Moley Australia on Sunday night. Picture: Paul A. Broben

Hannan clarified the lost money wasn't the $100,000 prize he and his mother Debbie won on Instant Hotel, which they had split between them equally.

Since the show, Hannan had been living and working in Bali as a digital marketing director for Finns Beach Club, which was temporarily shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last year.

Concerned about the future of international travel, he decided to return home to the Sunshine Coast where he spent the remainder of 2020, during which the investment scam occurred.

He signed up to Holey Moley's special singles episode, which will air on Channel 7 on Sunday night, late last year for the experience after a challenging year including the lost cash and last month returned to work in Bali.

As part of the singles special, the winning putters on the episode will go out on a date.

"I'm terrible at golf," he said.

"For me it was just all a bit of fun, not being too serious and having a bit of a laugh doing something different."

"You never know where and when you might meet somebody."

Holey Moley airs Sunday night at 7pm on Channel 7

Originally published as Reality TV winner duped by Tinder date investment scam



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