A woman was scammed out of her life savings and left homeless by a man she thought loved her.
The brave woman, from South Northamptonshire, who has been referred to as Jessica to protect her identity, was targeted by a “professional scammer” who she met on an online dating website.
The two grew close over the course of 18 months and Jessica believed they were falling in love, before he scammed her out of more than £100,000
Through Northamptonshire Police, Jessica has now shared her story in a bid to prevent others from also falling victim.
Jessica met the man, who introduced himself as an architect living in Sunderland, on dating site Zoosk in 2019.
The pair exchanged messages, spoke on Skype and had long phone calls across the following 18 months.
The man sent Jessica flowers, and she believed they were falling in love.
During this time he “borrowed” more than £100,000 from Jessica, with a promise to pay her back, however police officers believe he is part of an organised crime group in Nigeria.”
Even when Jessica got suspicious and reported his behaviour to police, he kept the scam up, sending spoof emails that appeared to be from a Northamptonshire Police detective in a bid to keep Jessica from seeing the truth.
Detective sergeant Steve Puddifoot said: “The victim in this case is exceptionally brave in being willing to talk about her experiences and we all hope that it will serve as a warning to other people who use online dating services.”
“This was a very professional scam created and carried out by professional criminals. Even when a police investigation was in full swing, the scammer created an email address that appeared to from Northamptonshire Police, in order to evade detection.”
“Online dating services are a great way to meet people but those that use them need to be fully aware of the dangers involved.”
“In this case, the victim lost more than £100,000 that she thought she would get back.”
“She has lost her life savings and has been left homeless and in debt – the emotional and mental impact has been devastating to her and her family.”
“She, and we, hope that raising awareness and her speaking out about her experiences could prevent others from falling foul of this despicable crime.”