By Tara Rippin • 21 October 2020 • 10:49
Victim of ‘romance fraud’ shares her heartbreak to warn others after she was conned out of £8,500.
THE woman from Nottinghamshire, who wishes to remain anonymous, has told her story to help warn others not to be put in the same position as part of the nationwide online dating scam awareness campaign Operation Tonic.
The 58-year-old had been on an online dating site and started talking to a 52-year-old man named Adam who posed as an electrical engineer from Keyworth, who was working in Africa.
They had been speaking for over a year, talking about family, nights out, trips away and their dream of jetting off on holiday to Venice together. She believed she was in a relationship with him and very much in love.
The pair messaged each other every day via the website Our Time and then the app Viber, sharing pictures, talking up dreams for the future and how they would meet for the first time at Christmas 2019.
She said: “I joined the dating website as I was lonely. I wanted friendship, companionship and the chance to feel loved.
“I had gone through a messy break-up with my husband after finding out he was sleeping with someone I worked with, so I was heartbroken, and I never really felt I would love again.
“I started to speak to Adam in 2019 after liking one of his pictures and reading through his profile. His messages he sent were so special. He made me feel amazing.
“He asked me to speak to him on a separate app and we exchanged messages and photos.
The pair got to know each other’s families, sharing stories and dreams.
“He said he was working in Africa, in a country called Benin and he would return at Christmas back to the East Midlands and we would meet.
“For someone brought up in Monaco, he had great English, but he told me had family all over Europe. His backstory was so believable. There was nothing that led me to believe it was false and we would spend the rest of our years together.
“I couldn’t wait for him to come home to Keyworth at Christmas. And that’s when sadly, now I look back today, it started to go wrong.”
The experienced Nottinghamshire psychologist was besotted with Adam and started to send money to him to try and get him home for the festive period.
Adam struggled to get booked on flights back to Nottinghamshire and it appeared the pair’s dream of meeting for Christmas wouldn’t come true.
But it was too late, at that stage of their relationship she had already sent thousands of pounds to Adam via bank transfers online.
The emotional fraud victim added: “I was so desperate to see him, but he kept using excuses and said he couldn’t get on any flights. I would send him money so he could book a ticket home.
“The requests then kept coming and my bank balance took a real hit.
“In total I spent more than £8,500 on him, on my dream, but ultimately he didn’t come home and we never met.”
“I tried to find out who the man pictured was, who Adam really was, but no luck. I’ve spent time searching for the addresses he gave me, in Keyworth, Monaco, Africa – none of it all stacked up.
“It’s all left me in a real difficult position financially and I’m now struggling to pay back the interest on the overdraft.”
The woman urged people to be vigilant and advised people to seek support if they find themselves in the same situation.
She added: “Thankfully I have a really strong support network. My friends and family who I have told have been supporting me so much.
“I’m not stupid. I’ve had a very successful career, helping people as a psychologist for years, but I was so naïve.”
Nottinghamshire Police is backing Operation Tonic, a nationwide campaign that raises awareness of online dating scams.
Detective Inspector Ed Cook said: “Romance fraud is a devastating crime that targets the most vulnerable in society. We would urge anyone going through a similar situation to contact the police.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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