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‘I’m a normal woman, it won’t happen to me’: Widow reveals how romance fraudster she met on Facebook stole her £50,000 life savings by claiming he had to pay hospital bills after work accident in Dubai


A widow has revealed how she was conned out of her £50,000 life savings by a romance fraudster after meeting the fake ‘lover’ on Facebook.

Lyn was tricked into sending the scammer, called ‘Derek’, money until she cashed in her pension and ran out of money, believing their relationship was genuine – and he even conned her into paying fake hospital bills after a supposed work accident in Dubai.

‘I’m just a normal woman in a normal everyday life. It won’t happen to me,’ she said. ‘But unfortunately, it does, it happens to anyone.’

She met Derek on the social media site 2020, where he said he had recently moved from Manchester to Dubai where he owned a mineral company.

And he even went as far as to take and edit pictures from the internet to fool Lyn into thinking they were a couple – despite never meeting in person.

Lyn said Derek later pressured her into sending him money, claiming that he needed the money to pay for his employee’s hospital bills

'I'm just a normal woman in a normal. It won't happen to me': Widow Lyn (pictured) has revealed how she was conned out of her £50,000 life savings by a romance fraudster

‘I’m just a normal woman in a normal. It won’t happen to me’: Widow Lyn (pictured) has revealed how she was conned out of her £50,000 life savings by a romance fraudster

She was also persuaded into opening multiple cryptocurrency accounts so she could send more cash to him and his ‘business associates’, who would pay her back.

Lyn was fortunate to secure a refund for her missing money following a police investigation but urged others to be wary of romance fraudsters.

She said: ‘I didn’t have an inkling he was a scammer at all. He used to ring me up at least once, maybe twice a week on the phone. He sounded very genuine.

‘They know what to ask and what to tell you, what you want to hear – that you’d only hear from your husband and what have you.

‘And then they kind of real you in, and then you’re into this relationship and they keep promising to come over and meet up.

‘You keep sending the money out and it’s never-ending, there’s always something.

‘These people are clever and they can do it to males, females – they’re just there to get your money. So don’t be afraid. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, don’t keep secrets.’

Lyn said she had met Derek in a group for bereaved widows on Facebook and they had hit it off after he struck up a conversation with her.

She said the crook played on the pain she was feeling following the death of her partner.

She said: ‘This guy I got talking to, he lived in Manchester but he worked away a lot digging for minerals at this business of his that he owned.

‘We got talking and we had loads of banter.

‘He was a widow, so I thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got something in common.’ The pain I’m feeling, he’s feeling the same. And it just went on from there.’

Lyn was tricked into sending the scammer, called 'Derek', money until she cashed in her pension and ran out of money, believing their relationship was genuine

Lyn was tricked into sending the scammer, called ‘Derek’, money until she cashed in her pension and ran out of money, believing their relationship was genuine

Lyn met Derek on the social media site 2020, where he said he had recently moved from Manchester to Dubai where he owned a mineral company

Lyn met Derek on the social media site 2020, where he said he had recently moved from Manchester to Dubai where he owned a mineral company

But Lyn said four months into the relationship, she had begun to hear from Derek that he needed money to cover the costs of injuries his staff had suffered in Dubai.

And she decided to help him out as he had agreed to pay her back the money ‘with interest’.

However, he went onto ask for further sums of cash to cover other expenses and later told her to transfer money to his associates using the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

She said: ‘There was an accident that happened over in Dubai where he was working and six of his employees got injured, and he had all these hospital bills to pay.

‘He said would I help him with them? He said, ‘I’ll pay you the money back with interest, don’t worry about the money.’

‘Then the hotel was going to chuck him out – ‘Could I pay his hotel bill?’ And it just went on and on from there.

‘Then eventually, I’d run out of money, so he then said, ‘I’ll get my business partners to transfer money to you through my secretary, and then if you can transfer it through bitcoin to me.’

Lyn said she didn’t want to tell her family what had happened because she felt embarrassed to admit it.

She said: ‘I was more embarrassed about bringing the subject up with my family so I kind of kept it away from them but I have a close friend who I told, and she just said, be careful.’

Lyn learned that the relationship had been a sham when Cheshire Police officers came to her door and informed her in January 2021.

Lyn added: ‘I thought, I’m just a normal woman in a normal everyday life. It won’t happen to me, but unfortunately, it does, it happens to anyone.

‘These romance scammers look for vulnerable people, so be careful what you share on Facebook, what you tell people. Keep your cards close to your chest.’

Lyn has since found a loving new partner, who she also met online, and revealed how she planned to go on holiday with him soon.

But police constable Jim Day, of Cheshire Police, said it was crucial for vulnerable people to look out for scammers ‘promising love’ over the internet.

He said: ‘Previous relationships and experiences can shape one’s expectations, trust issues, communication styles, and attachment patterns.

‘However, that make us susceptible to someone promising love.

‘It’s tempting to ignore doubts and see what we want to see being the promises of a relationship, this cognitive process is known as ‘betrayal blindness’.

‘Romance fraudsters prey on and exploit the insecurities, gaining trust over prolonged periods of time before money is transferred either in the form of gifts or through a request for help.

‘We have been very lucky in that we have managed to secure a refund for Lyn.

‘Every penny we are able to successfully recover in these investigations is a huge step forward in showing scammers that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.’



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