Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Web scam nets thousands for African conman


Shane Symington


Published Date: 

15 January 2009

By Gareth Bethell


A MAN was cheated out of more than £130,000 when he fell for a woman in an internet chatroom – who turned out to be a Nigerian conman.

Shane Symington handed over thousands of pounds thinking he was helping the ‘woman’s’ sick mother.

The 32-year-old, from Southsea, was then tricked out of even more cash when he received e-mails from men claiming to be FBI agents.

They said he had been conned by the woman and that they would take on his case if he would fund their trip to Nigeria, and any subsequent costs they incurred, which the man agreed to.

Police say they have received a lack of support from the Nigerian authorities, and the money will probably be lost forever.

Detective Constable Jon Knox said: ‘This is a very sad situation, and this man has now parted with a huge sums of money through his own good nature – in trying to help others and then to recover some of what he had lost.’

Mr Symington told police he was first contacted by a woman in Nigeria via an internet chatroom in the summer of 2007.

The pair struck up a friendship and continued e-mailing each other. She then began asking for money to help her sick mother, which he sent over.

The ‘woman’ then claimed her mother had died and she needed cash to pay for her funeral, which he agreed to.

Mr Symington then received e-mails claiming to be from the FBI, saying the woman was in fact a Nigerian man who had been lying to obtain money.

The supposed FBI agents then said they would take on his case if he paid them. This went on for months before it transpired it was another con.

Police in Portsmouth are now warning people to remain vigilant when they are approached for money over the internet, or via their emails.

Det Con Knox added: ‘We do not want anyone else to fall foul of this kind of shocking activity, and I would warn anyone who is asked for money over the internet by people they do not know to refuse.’


Postman loses £130,000 savings to Nigerian internet scam after being duped by a friend he met on MySpace

A postman told today how he sank into depression and debt after losing £130,000 in an internet scam involving Nigerian fraudsters.


Shane Symington described how an apparently innocent friendship that he formed with an American woman through the MySpace website turned into a ‘nightmare’ as he started handing over money.


The 32-year-old said he was friends with the woman for several weeks in the spring of 2007 before she suddenly started asking for money to pay for her mother’s funeral and medical expenses.


He said the requests then carried on for money to pay for legal fees so that the woman, who called herself Angela Gates, could free up land that she had inherited apparently worth $2million.

The requests continued throughout the year and, by last year, Mr Symington had handed over his bank details and more than £100,000.


He said that he became suspicious when the woman stopped communicating with him and contacted what he thought was a website run by the FBI in America but which turned out to be another scam.


Mr Symington, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, said he then got a text message from his ‘friend’ Angela who revealed that it was all a fraud.


‘It said that it was all false and that Angela was actually a man from Nigeria’, Mr Symington said.


‘I guess he came clean because he thought he had taken all the money he could.’


But his problems did not end there as he was then contacted by another woman, again from America, claiming she had also been caught in the scam.


He said that he then helped pay her legal expenses and the cost of hiring two ex-FBI agents in an attempt to regain the lost money for both of them.


Mr Symington said that he now believes that these people are also involved in the scam. He said that he had paid out more than £30,000 to them, bringing his total losses to more than £130,000.


He said: ‘I feel sick from it all, I feel disillusioned, they have just played on my good nature. I’ve lost my life-savings, I have two loans and credit card debts, I’m in huge debts because of all of this.


‘Before this happened, I used to go out every night, now I just stay in because I’ve lost all the self-confidence in my life and I don’t have the money to go out any more. I’ve also had five weeks off with depression from work.’


Warning others to be extremely careful before handing any money over to people they have met through the internet, he said: ‘It’s just wicked people getting everything they can get out of people.


‘You just can’t trust anyone on the internet. I want to warn people but I know I won’t be the last to fall for something like this.’


Detective Constable Jon Knox, of Hampshire Police, added: ‘This is a very sad situation, and this man has now parted with a huge sums of money through his own good nature – in trying to help others and then to recover some of what he had lost.


‘We do not want anyone else to fall foul of this kind of shocking activity and I would warn anyone who is asked for money over the internet by people they do not know to refuse and not put yourself at risk.’


A police spokeswoman added that there was little police could do to help Mr Symington get his money back.


She said: ‘The money cannot be recovered due to the current political situation in Nigeria, resulting in a lack of co-operation from the police in the country.’


January 24, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. this is a very sad story…….people abroad should pls stop falling for this internet fraudstars…..they are just rubishing the image of nigeria. we still got good nigerians.

    Comment by teejay | March 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. Am really sorry buddy, you fell for it, it nearly happened to me, but thank god i woke up. i wish the yanks would drop the bomb on the place. or all internet service providers ban ann nigerian internet traffic around the world. its so currupt dow there, some black guy disguised as a totally gorgeous female to me of a dating service in edinburgh, scotland; too god to be true, when i realised , i wasted there time and made a fool of them trust me buddy, so have a laught on my account. i wish you could get your money back, i do feel for you bud . good luck—barry

    Comment by barry | May 19, 2009 | Reply


    Comment by rose smith | November 15, 2009 | Reply

    • you cannot stop people stupidity and wickedness only God … but plssssss be wise at least ask your virtual friend to show her/his face in the webcam (for capturing purpose) w/c am pretty sure they will not agree… signs that you’re in danger)simply stop communicating… real friends dont starts with money … sorry for all the victims , do they have some hope of compensation? pls read Psalms 37:10-11 and Ecclessiastes 7:12 … start gaining Gods wisdom and you’ll be rewarded … Proverbs 1:7

      Comment by benz | November 16, 2009 | Reply

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