This was a pattern of crime that became only too real for Karen Beale (not her real name), a 66-year-old, teacher from Cornwall. She spoke to Telegraph Money about how she was conned into transferring tens of thousands of pounds from her savings account to a man she met on a dating website.
Karen – who doesn’t wish to disclose her full name but wants to share her story to help prevent others from falling victim – joined a popular dating website in March 2013, newly single after the breakup of a relationship.
He told Karen that he worked in an oil rig and was away for work a lot. He sent her photos purporting to be of him at work with his colleagues. They spoke regularly on the phone.
Eventually, after several weeks of contact he asked Karen if she thought it was a good idea if he invested in oil, just like his supposed colleagues were doing.
Hundreds of thousands of people use dating websites and apps to chat and arrange meetings. For many, the dream is that they will lead to life-changing romances and relationships.