Lonely heart scams: Woman gives £80,000 to handsome 'soldier'

Filed Under: Social networks, Spam

SoldierDivorced mother-of-three Kate Roberts imagined she had found the man of her dreams when she was approached on the Friends Reunited website by a handsome US soldier.

Unfortunately, the 47-year-old was falling into the arms of an internet scammer, who tricked her into sending a fortune she couldn't afford to lose in his direction.

Miss Roberts, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, has shared her story with the media after she was conned out of £80,000. And the lonely divorcee could hardly afford to send a man she'd never met such a huge amount of money - she had to take out loans, credit cards and borrow from her family and friends to send the fake soldier money.

According to reports, the scam has left Miss Roberts in financial ruin, and forced her to sell her house to pay off the debts.

The whole sorry story is told in greater detail in the Daily Mail and in the Metro newspapers today, and is featured in a regional BBC television programme to be broadcast tonight.

The sad truth is that although there are bound to be plenty of honest, decent people on dating websites there are also love-cheats, fraudsters and liars. When people are looking for love they're likely to have blinkers on and ignore the nagging doubts in the back of their mind about the person who they are falling for..

There are certainly plenty of internet fraudsters out there pretending to be looking for love, when their real intentions are to con you out of your savings. For instance, we've written in the past about the Nigerian man who used a fake female dating profile to defraud a middle-aged Australian man out of $20,000 (approximately US $16,000), and the NASA worker who had her computer infected by spyware sent by a bogus online admirer.

If you have friends and loved ones who you believe might be vulnerable, make sure you help them ensure that both their heart isn't broken and their finances aren't ruined.

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15 Responses to Lonely heart scams: Woman gives £80,000 to handsome 'soldier'

  1. It was quite daft of her to even give him the money and not realise what was going on. It was her own fault for not realising.

  2. It was her own fault for not realising what was going on. If anyone askes you to send them money online, there must be something dodgy going on.

  3. Darkstar Scambuster · 1709 days ago

    These kinds of scams are prevalent on social networking sites as well. I have been approached by them on MySpace, Tagged, Hi5, and MyYearbook. They make fake profiles there and try to pull what are also known as "romance scams." Good sources to learn more about these are romancescam.com and pigbusters.net. Dead giveaways that you are talking to a scammer are: inappropriate use of the word "am," the phrase, "I will like to" (as opposed to "I WOULD like to), and other inappropriate uses of the English language prevalent in west Africa, specifically, Nigeria and Ghana.

  4. Maybe "blinders"? · 1709 days ago


  5. dangleberry · 1709 days ago

    always known it as blinkers, never heard of blinders, what country says blinders?

  6. chrissy · 1709 days ago

    I met my husband on line so good can come of it - had he started asking for cash tho- I wouuld have blown him off!

  7. zeke1109 · 1709 days ago

    Never heard of blinkers. From the wiki provided above it seems to have to do with horses.
    Blinders would be a better fit when talking about people who can't see scams even though there eyes are open.

  8. I also met my fiancé on an Internet dating website. So there is nothing wrong with this at all however some people just believe in everyone. Rule 1 you need to physically speak to them before you meet. Rule 2 you meet them and you do so in a very public place. Even if you've done this I still can't see why you would ever give someone that kind of money. As my dad says never give what you can't afford to lose. This womans an idiot her family should have questioned her thoroughly before lending her money. I feel for her I do. It's a huge mistake to make, but seriously people need to be less trusting!

  9. Anon · 1709 days ago

    I met a scammer posing as an American soldier online we talked on yahoo and he seemed very nice.He asked me to pay to call him it all seemed legitimate even the email I was sent it contained information that when I checked on Wikipedia turned out to be legit and links to what seemed to be legit sites.The curtain call was when I requested the information to pay as I was curious was he real or not and guess what it was Western Union payment lol.This scammer when I checked his email was also on an American dating site and had more than one photo of the soldier he was pretending to be.I checked the IP address in the emails and guess what Nigeria.These scammers are getting smarter this one even knew American slang but there were still a few grammar mistakes.I contacted the DOD as it seems to be a big problem now scammers pose as soldiers because they are people we trust and respect.With help from friends he was posted on romance scams as well as pigbusters.I also sent a threatening email to the scammer as well.I feel that countries in the western world have to step up and do something about these criminals I can understand how people get fooled but the most important thing to remember is that unless you actually meet someone in person you never know who they are and you can never win a competition you have never entered and friends , real friends never ask for anything certainly not money.The sad thing is that this woman will never see her money again and this thief will never be prosecuted and chances are shes not the only woman to have been scammed.I think rather than criticising her we should admire her for coming forward and sharing her story because the more attention that is brought to this issue the more likely it is that eventually something will be done about these criminals.

  10. dennie · 1709 days ago

    well all i can say is more fool her the internet is full of fraudsters . i get emails on daily basis from internet scammers i just play along and ask them to phone me and usually pass the a police station number even better when you email back and put what looks like an email tracker and then them for opening and giving me there isp .people must get more clued up on these things and the goverment must step in running tv ad and newspaper campagns warning more people on this .

  11. YoYo · 1709 days ago

    You guys I talked to her online on a facebook support group she joined and she is truly trying to play the victim. She claims it was a sophisticated scam and she didn't see any red flags.

    I guess when she had to take out loans and ask family members for money for a man that she didn't even know so he would keep talking to her wasn't a red flag. This woman made her own misery. She isn't a victim. When you willingly part with your money, you can't claim victim.

  12. Julie · 1707 days ago

    They are rampant on every dating site. You just have to be aware and cautious. I do know a gentleman who went to Western Union to send a "poor girl who was stranded in a foreign country" several hundred dollars. This man is on SSI. Thank God for his WU agent who advised him not to send the money! They prey on the weak and unfortunately many times the already poor.

  13. joe41 · 1704 days ago

    superb, I wish I could get her to send me 80,000. Do you have her email?

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley