Judith Lathlean, a 67-year-old, Oxford-educated professor, made headlines in December last year when she courageously revealed how she had paid £140,000 to a man she met on a dating site (but never met face to face).
In another case, divorcée Suzanne Hardman, then 56, was defrauded of £170,000 by ‘James Richards’, a widower living in Portsmouth.
Those targeted are often intelligent, professional people.
According to a study by Leicester University, as many as 200,000 people in the UK may have fallen victim to online romance scams.
I completely trusted him.'Mrs Fowkes only realised something was wrong when police turned up on her doorstep in November 2010.'I completely believed he was coming back and he was going to pay me back,' Mrs Fowkes said. Everything I asked – like why the embassy couldn't help – he always had an answer for.'I believed I had started a relationship but looking back I was obviously being groomed.When I told my two sons they were devastated and blamed themselves for not questioning what I was doing.They exchanged messages and she even spoke several times on the phone to a man claiming to be her online date.He described his life in England, including details about his pets, children and past relationships.