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Online dating fraud: a victim’s story

By The Dating Fraud Partnership on 10 Feb, 2017

58 year-old David was using an online dating website, and came across someone who he thought was an old friend.

They got chatting and it wasn’t long before 'Kerry' had asked him to send £500 towards a plane ticket she needed to buy urgently, not specifying details on where it was to.

Unfortunately, Kerry wasn’t who she said she was, but was in fact a fraudster who went to great lengths to deceive David; sending copies of immigration papers, passport and a plane ticket.

David began to get suspicious after a few months, so he asked her to prove who she was and she put someone on the phone who was meant to be her father, close friend and solicitor. The week Kerry was due to arrive in the UK, David was really excited. He’d become very fond of her and would phone, text and email day and night. Kerry even called David from the airport to say she was on her way, but later that night he received a call from someone at immigration to say they had arrested someone pretending to be Kerry. They told David that Kerry would go to prison unless he sent more money for a document she urgently needed and, while he wanted to help, he just couldn’t. He told her he had already handed over his entire life savings (£15,000), and that he “wasn’t a millionaire”.

After the breakdown of the relationship, David was absolutely distraught and felt very alone. He later found out from his bank that he was part of a much larger scam worth a total of £7 million pounds – with multiple victims and people pretending to be various individuals.

David says “I was devastated by what happened to me and it’s massively changed my life. I don’t feel like I can trust anyone anymore and I find it hard to meet any potential new partner. It’s taken some time to resolve my financial situation too as that was a large portion of my savings. Without Victim Support I don’t think I’d be here now. 

For some top tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of dating fraud, visit www.getsafeonline.org/datesafe

This is a real life account of a dating fraud victim, brought to you by the Dating Fraud Partnership, which comprises Get Safe Online, the City of London Police, Metropolitan Police, Victim Support and Age UK.