Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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The lonely hearts scam

January 31 2011 at 05:32pm
By Claire Ellicott
Divorced and lonely, Kate Roberts thought her luck had changed when a charming US soldier started chatting to her on a dating website.

When he told he loved her, she thought it was almost too good to be true. And sadly, it was.

The “soldier” was in fact a member of a sophisticated Nigerian gang set up to exploit vulnerable women and convince them to hand over money.

Roberts gave £80 000 to the gang after taking out credit cards, loans and borrowing from family and friends. She has now had to sell her house to pay off the crippling debts.

The 47-year-old yesterday warned others to be on their guard saying: “I was well and truly taken in and I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did.”

The mother-of-three was first approached when she set up a profile on the Friends Reunited Dating website in October 2009.

She started exchanging e-mails with a man calling himself Sergeant Ray Smith and chatting to him several times a day on MSN messenger.

He soon persuaded her to send him £225 for a phone line and a man with an American accent calling himself Mark began ringing her almost every day.

He claimed he was a 43-year-old widower with an 11-year-old daughter and was a US soldier serving in Iraq.

To make his profile more convincing, the scammers posted pictures of a good-looking soldier in uniform as well as others of him topless.

The conmen even used a picture of a little girl, telling Roberts, an administrator from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, it was his daughter.

She said: “I did have doubts but everything he told me sounded reasonable and I was in love.

“He told me he couldn’t tell me much about his job for security reasons and I accepted that.”

Between October 2009 and July last year Roberts handed over £80 000.

She made regular payments of thousands via Western Union and even paid cash directly into what she believed was his bank account as he told her he had no money.

He asked for at least £20 000 from her to buy official military “leave passes”. He claimed he was unable to take leave and could only get it by using fake documents he needed to pay for. On several occasions, a man claiming to be the soldier’s commander rang her to reassure her he was about to fly to Britain.

But she discovered it was a scam when she arranged for £12 000 to be sent to one of his friends to pay for his airfare to Britain and he suddenly stopped contacting her.

She said: “One day he just stopped emailing me and didn’t call me.

“I drove down to an army base in Cambridgeshire which he’d told me he had been in for three years but they had never heard of him. I called the police and my phone company traced the phone he had used back to a mobile number in Nigeria.”

She was later told by police that she was the victim of a scam. Eight months later, Roberts was forced to sell her home to pay off the huge debts.

She said: “Aside from losing the money I feel like I’ve lost the love of my life. I know he wasn’t real, but the feelings were real to me and that’s very difficult to come to terms with. Hundreds of other women must be getting conned right now.”

Both the police and the US embassy have begun investigations into the scam. – Daily Mail


February 12, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Here’s one I’m going through right now.

    I met her on a website, she began IMing me everyday. Good conversations, nothing too spectacular. But she continued to tell me how strong of a bond she felt. (BTW I’m very skeptical, so I play along with it, no true intentions of belief)

    Her story: She is originally from my city, but works for the WHO. She had to travel to Africa to help some people out there. Of course, some things went wrong and now she needs $500 USD to pay a tax to the Nigerian government or else she can’t receive any further salary. She is fed up with Nigeria and just really wants to come home, start a new career and settle down!!
    (Now I start scamming)… I work for a government agency with ties in many regions. If they won’t let her leave, i can have my company arrange for a private flight and we can pick her up as long as her passport/papers or in order. No, no, she doesn’t want me “to go through all the trouble” it’s easier if I just send the money “please understand, you know how much we trust each other” I told her I’ll send it Western Union to her full name, but she says her hotel manager has to pick it up because she can’t go into the city…

    Long story short, these guys are very good, they’ve thought of every possible rebuttal to any question you ask, PROFESSIONALS! I’ll keep playing with this one a few more days (it’s fun to me), see what other information I can get out of him and then report it!

    Comment by DnTX | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. Mr Woodstock must comment on the good work you doing ,my friend was a victim of scam fraudster impersonating a white gent claiming to be French Us citizen using the name Maxwel Jean , states he has a gold bud contract in the Us doign in the job in Ghana , says he is 53 yrs but sounds french but very young ,confesses love at a pretty rapid speed send the most beautiful love letters perfect english of a perfect gentleman send passion up greetings , the out of the blue requests for money for gold yellow tag and customs fees for gold to be shipped out to the Uk ,before this he requests you to find big house as he wants to come to South Africa and prepared to pay a handsome sum for this says he has daughter in Frnace boarding school named Yvonne , in my opinion this man wants to come to South Africa as i called him after this and he states he Wantd to get out of Ghana LADIES BEWARE OF THIS MAN ALSO EMAILS YOU PASTPORTS WITH WHITE MANS PHOTO AND DOCUMENTS FOR TRANSACTIONS Of gold , he was on Wyane socila network removed now still on my space net log and a few other date sites also face book – Mr woodstock – my concern is this white man not aware his photo being used in such a big farud –

    Comment by sasha | February 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really loved browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll
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    Comment by makeup site | August 30, 2012 | Reply

  4. I was also scammers by a cody Moore who also goes under Ryan Matt Moore and Matt Moore , he is a Nigerian , he has a beutiful photo up with us army uniform on and his daughter beside him

    Comment by Kim brown | October 16, 2015 | Reply

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