Monday, June 21, 2010

Soldier's Online Dating Con Costs Woman ALL Her Life Savings

An elderly widow has been left seriously out of pocket by an internet dating site scam.

The woman has lost almost all her life savings after being duped into sending hundreds of thousands of pounds to a supposed American soldier.

The trickster befriended the lady on an online chatroom, claiming to be a lieutenant in the US Army stationed in Afghanistan.

And after gaining her trust over a period of months he began to ask to borrow money – saying he could not access his American bank account and that he needed to buy himself out of the army.

Northumbria Police are aware of similar incidents happening all over the country. Enquiries have revealed it to be a scam involving tricksters from the UK, North America and Nigeria.

Northumbria Police is now working with forces across the UK in a bid to trace the scammers. Det Cons Steph Heaney said: “Research carried out during the investigation shows this is quite a well used internet scam with many variations on a similar theme.

“We’re working closely with other forces to find out if they are investigating any similar incidents and we’re doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this – including checking activity on a variety of bank accounts and phone numbers.

“The offenders have taken advantage of a vulnerable woman who trusted the man claiming to be at the other end of the e-mail and believed he was true to his word and would pay her back.

“He promised to take her on holiday and to come and stay with her once he’d left the army.

“It’s disgusting that people could do this to anyone and it’s imperative we do all we can to find the people behind this.

“I’d urge anyone who has fallen victim to a similar scam or knows of anyone who has to get on touch with their local force as they may have vital information.

“And I’d like to raise awareness of this scam to prevent other people from falling victim. The offenders will try to make contact through social and dating websites and it’s imperative that people do not hand over any money to someone they don’t know or have only met online.

“I’d also encourage friends and relatives to make sure they keep an eye on the elderly or vulnerable and listen out for any warning signs so they can make sure they don’t give money to people they don’t know.”

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