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On line dating scam

(32 Posts)
Gypsyqueen13 Sun 15-Apr-18 09:56:03

This is my first time opening a new discussion so I hope I have put it in an appropriate place.

When you read it you may all think that I am writing about myself but it genuinely is about what happened to a friend!

I have a friend aged 64 who after several years of being alone decided to re-enrol on an online dating website. Within 48 hours of putting her details on there she was contacted by a gentleman who she liked the sound of. He was widowed about 5 years previously with no children. They exchanged a few messages on there and he suggested that as they were getting along so well they come off the website and communicate privately.

To keep a long story short they emailed and telephoned each other for a couple of weeks. He mentioned that he was an engineer planning to retire soon but had one final job overseas before then. My friend had been completely taken in by this chap but I was very sceptical - it all seemed to be moving too quickly for my liking. Because I was so wary I told my daughter and asked for her opinion.

She heard from him while he was overseas and spun a story about a problem with the contract and that he wasn’t going to be able to get back to the UK as he couldn’t raise the funds for the flights home. He said that there was nearly £1.5 million tied up in an account but if she allowed him to put this money in her account temporarily all would be sorted his end!! She rang me to ask what I thought and I told her not to be so gullible. That it was all a scam.

She still wouldn’t believe me and said that it must be true as she had spoken to a barrister overseas and he confirmed that it was all legal and above board.

My daughter and a friend did copious amounts of ‘googling’ and found some information on online dating scams that sounded exactly what my friend was going through.

Eventually, she has come round and realised that she had become sucked in by this man. Luckily, we helped her realise before she lost any money. The reason for my post is just to make people aware that even the most savvy people can be hoodwinked by these evil people. I wondered whether others have experienced similar situations.

Luckygirl Sun 15-Apr-18 10:57:56

Oh dear - so good that you managed to avert a disaster. Some of these tricksters are so plausible.

Gypsyqueen13 Sun 15-Apr-18 11:04:20

Definitely. I have heard about it happening but never known anyone who has been drawn in. I am just glad that she listened to me and that it didn’t ruin our friendship.

Blinko Sun 15-Apr-18 11:31:30

So he can't raise the money for a flight to the UK but wants to put £1.5m in her account?? Should raise suspicions, surely.

Luckylegs9 Sun 15-Apr-18 11:46:22

So glad your friend realised before it was too late. These horrible people will do anything to get money and care not one bit if they break your heart or bankrupt you. When you feel lonely and seek company it is easy to be taken in. I think I will be on my own always because I couldn't go on line dating and don't get to meet many men in daily life. However, I am quite happy on my own realy, I get low sometimes but doesn't everyone?.

Gypsyqueen13 Sun 15-Apr-18 12:12:44

Blinko, it did instantly with me but she really felt that they were forming a loving relationship and was completely sucked in. Just goes to show how careful we need to be.

Gypsyqueen13 Sun 15-Apr-18 12:14:29

Lucky legs, I am the same as you. I do feel lonely sometimes but I have quite a full life with good friends who care. I certainly wouldn’t want to go down the online route.

Blinko Sun 15-Apr-18 12:19:21

GypsyQ, yep, I guess it's easier from the outside looking in. Always the case, isn't it?

POGS Sun 15-Apr-18 12:19:33

It is a concern when even supposed intelligent people get sucked in to a scam by such low life's.

The damage goes beyond loosing money . No doubt your friend has had her faith in others shaken and she may well take quite some time to get over this. Not that it will remotely hit the conscience of the piece of work doing the scamming.

yggdrasil Sun 15-Apr-18 13:07:53

I wonder what would have happened if she had opened a new bank account with only £1 and no overdraft?

Grannyknot Sun 15-Apr-18 13:31:49

ygg that's a good one! grin - worth remembering.

grannyticktock Sun 15-Apr-18 13:54:41

There was a case a bit like this featured on Radio 4 recently. The man - and this is a common factor in scams - claimed to be working overseas (oil rig, armed forces, whatever...) and eventually asked to borrow several thousand £ from her for some cashflow crisis. She immediately told him what she thought of him, and he simply replied "I am ashamed".

What's more, the photo he was using was one stolen from an attractive, married American pastor in his 60s. The BBC tracked the man in the picture down, and he said at least a dozen women had been lured into scams by the unauthorised use of his photo.

So be wary of anyone who's working abroad, and don't trust photos!

Welshwife Sun 15-Apr-18 14:32:07

A very sensible person I knew was lured into a sort of relationship with a chap pretending to be an American - very good looking - she eventually smelt smelt a rat when he started telling the tale of a sick daughter etc and She contacted the police and told them about a meet this chap arranged with her - she found herself in a London hotel room with a number of Nigerian men and a suitcase stuffed with cash! The police did arrive and arrested the men and she spent many hours with them going over what had happened as they had just set up a special dept and were interested in all facts.
The whole thing still cost her about £1000 though before she did realise.

BlueBelle Sun 15-Apr-18 14:35:33

This has just happened to my daughters friend she joined a site after a good while alone she’s an intelligent professional working lady she started speaking to a seemingly lovely professional man he told her all about his job and where he worked in our nearest city and they became close she told him stuff about herself she now wishes she hadn’t they were talking for weeks when he had to go away and got stuck in Turkey he needed £10.000 to get him out ......yeah she realised then and it has been passed to the police I hope your friend has done that too

Caledonai14 Sun 15-Apr-18 15:46:31

I used to get a number of emails from people I don't know that well (but have maybe had to send details to through a club or event), asking if I want to join Linked In. Where I have been able to telephone the genuine people, or contact them another way, they have told me they DID NOT send the request, but several others have contacted them to warn about the same thing. I always bin these emails.
The first person whose spurious invitations started arriving then sent me one of those: "I'm stuck abroad with no money - please help" messages and it turned out their email had been compromised.
Fortunately for me, I checked them all and recognised that none of the people were the kind of friend who would feel they knew me well enough for either the joining request or the money help.
It's so difficult because just about everything you sign up for on the internet requires you to declare your email and phone number, age and postcode. We are easy prey.
So glad the OP was suspicious on her friend's behalf, but it isn't always easy to spot the scams.
It's a while ago now but I've also found trying to report such scams a complete and utter nightmare, especially if you know the person whose name is being used is innocent.
Best solution is a complete change of email address, but that throws up a whole new set of problems.

Fairydoll2030 Sun 15-Apr-18 15:58:20

There was a channel 4 programme last week about this very subject - can’t think of the presenter but he was Irish and good looking!
With the help of a computer expert, he created different profiles of himself both as a man and a woman and posted them to a dating site.
He was contacted by several different people.
In particular, ‘Lily from Ukraine’ declared her love for him
and wanted him to send her the fare to the UK. Subsequent investigation showed that ‘Lily’ was in fact a man in Nigeria. The investigator telephoned ‘her’ and the resulting conversation was hilarious as, even when’ she’ had
so obviously been rumbled, he continued to proclaim his love for the investigator!

Norah Sun 15-Apr-18 17:47:23

We pray to stay cognizant of scams as we age. I hope we stay vigilant.

jenpax Sun 15-Apr-18 19:12:15

This romance scam is unfortunately too common and is often targeted at ladies of a certain age! Probably because the scammers assume that these people are the most likely to be alone,interested in romance, and have savings😳
I have heard of these scammers building up the trust over many months and slowly gaining credibility with the victim. As others have said they often pose as military men working oversees often in the US forces😳 please keep an eye out for this and for any friends who may be sucked into this! As the scammers are oversees the victim rarely gets their money back😡

ninny Sun 15-Apr-18 19:18:29

What's the saying
No fool like an old fool.

janeainsworth Sun 15-Apr-18 21:06:43

I really dislike that saying ninny.
Foolishness isn’t the preserve of old people, and foolishness in both young and old people is often the result of vulnerability.

grannyticktock Sun 15-Apr-18 22:04:33

My daughter and my niece both met their current, lovely husbands through internet dating sites, but in both cases, the internet was used only as an introduction. They didn't pursue an online relationship but arranged to meet as soon as possible. The problems seem to arise when couples carry on a "virtual" relationship for many weeks or months, giving more opportunity for deceit and misunderstandings.

allsortsofbags Mon 16-Apr-18 00:48:30

Well Done for keeping your friend safe. It's not always easy to get people to believe you though.

As janeainsworth said foolishness is confined to the old.

A couple of years ago DD was a bit suspicious of someone who responded to her friend on dating site. Lovely girl, works hard, nice home in her 30's not normally daft but ...

DD friend was all excited about this chap. She showed DD his posts, all very lovely. He said he was an American working in the UK in a very "sensitive job" heavy hint at GCHQ,, didn't name it outright, mentioned Cheltenham.

Her friend was saying how good looking he was, wrote lovely posts and he must like her if he'd told even something about his job.

DD did the "be careful" and then got busy checking. She told her friend what she'd found out but poor soul didn't want to accept things. Put it down to "how would YOUR dad know that?"

To get her friend to end it DD had to bring her to our house even then she wouldn't believe what OH and DD were saying. We had to get on Skype to the USA with DD's Godparents before the poor girl would believe us.

So sad, so very sad.

These people are evil, as someone has already said.

I have no doubt it would have had a bad outcome if we and our friends hadn't had the ability to blow his lies wide open.

Just goes to show we can't be too careful even if we think we are tech savvy keeping safe isn't easy.

Witzend Mon 16-Apr-18 11:17:16

One case I saw on TV featured a woman who was still relatively young. After sending this 'boyfriend' all her savings, she actually got a bank loan for several thousand more, to send as well.

Bank staff had asked what she wanted the money for - she actually told them and they warned her that it was almost certainly a scam - but she went ahead anyway.

She was evidently intelligent enough, so it just shows that when people are so determined to believe a scammer, because they can't bear to believe they are just being ruthlessly conned, all common sense can so easily fly out of the window.

allsortsofbags Mon 16-Apr-18 12:04:10

Appologies

As janeainsworth said foolishness is confined to the old.

Sorry this should be

As janeainsworth said "foolishness is NOT confined to the old". As in there's no fool like and old fool.

janeainsworth Mon 16-Apr-18 12:48:31

Thanks allsorts smile