A heartbroken man has spoken out about his experience after getting conned out of over $20,000 by his girlfriend whom he met online.
59-year-old Norfolk-based Dave Hazel fell in love with a woman he met on a dating website back in 2012. After he and the woman, who presented herself as Linda Smith, got to know each other better, they began planning their life together.
After more than a year of chatting online, Linda, who was allegedly living in Canada at the time of the incident, asked Dave for cash in order to get a visa to come to live with him in the UK.
However, as soon as Dave sent over the large sum of money his girlfriend cut all contact with him.
“After losing almost £15,000 I was heartbroken – I had been ready to start a family with Linda,” Dave shared.
“I had been speaking to her online for 12 months but despite not meeting her or using Skype, we had spoken on the phone.
“I met her on a dating site, and she looked like someone I’d met in London and she said she remembered meeting me.
“We began building up a relationship, having conversations daily – she introduced herself as Linda Smith. I even rang her, and she spoke with an accent that sounded more English than Canadian.
“Before I knew it, I was falling for her – my heart had melted, and she was lovely. She wanted to live with me, and I thought I was in love.”
While Dave came across several red flags throughout his relationship with Linda, his love for the con artist has left him blinded.
“The first thing she asked me for was a visa costing £500,” the 59-year-old warehouse worker added.
“I was ready to have a full relationship, and I was happy to help her. She asked me to send it through Moneygram – which works almost like PayPal and two weeks after that it was another £500 for a medical check.
“She said she would marry me and have children – she was promising everything I’d always wanted.”
As the requests for financial support didn’t end, Dave quickly ended up spending over £15,000 ($20,000). After he found that she was flying from Ghana and not Canada, however, his suspicions grew bigger.
“I thought she was coming from Canada but when I asked for proof of the tickets they said she was coming from Ghana,” Dave explained.
“I asked her to explain – and she said she’d just been visiting. But then I got a phone call from immigration in Ghana after she’d been detained for having a large amount of money on her person.
“They told me the person I was waiting for wasn’t coming and was being arrested.”
After receiving the news he was afraid of, Dave did some research and paid a visit to his local bank who told the man that he had indeed been scammed.
“It was the darkest period of my life – I asked them if they were joking, I couldn’t have been conned,” the disappointed man added.
“I didn’t trust anyone and couldn’t speak to anyone for months. Without Victim Support – a service which offers initial support and information to victims of crimes like mine, and assessed your needs going forward – I wouldn’t be here.
“I’ve learned you should always ask for advice, and if you’re sending money without seeing them, stop.
“Don’t be ashamed – you’re not the only one – these cons left me heartbroken and it’s taken me years to fix things.”
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