"I still can’t believe I allowed myself to be so manipulated by a stranger I’d never even met." Action Fraud receives 60 to 80 reports of romance fraud every month and it is estimated that £250million was stolen from victims between August 2010 and February 2011 alone.
The average individual loss was £8,500 with the biggest reported loss being £250,000.
"When he didn’t turn up I went to the police and although they were sympathetic they said it was unlikely I would ever get my money back and Bradford was probably part of a large-scale scam based in West Africa.
"I felt so humiliated that it was difficult to tell anyone what had happened.
Then he needed another £22,000 to pay the tax on his profits before leaving the country.
"I didn’t want to lend this gambler I got drawn further in, knowing that if he didn’t complete his contract I would lose my initial loan. He promised to meet me at Birmingham Airport on his return to pay the money into my account.
"The past year has been incredibly difficult and I’ve needed counselling to cope but in some ways I was lucky.
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