Pensioner conned out of £116K by man 'from Nigeria' she met on Facebook

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A Derbyshire pensioner was conned out of £116,000 by a man she met on Facebook who said he was from Nigeria and needed the money to travel to the UK.

The widow, in her late 70s, exchanged more than 900 messages with the man who told her he needed to come to the UK because members of his family had been shot.

The woman, who lives in the Amber Valley area, transferred £116,000 over six months with the promise the cash would be paid back but it never was.

Police have used the story as a warning to members of the public that crooks are using social media to target victims who are being manipulated into sending cash to people they believe are genuine love interests - but who are in fact criminals.

They say fraudsters will create a "crisis situation" to ask the victim for cash once they have built what the victim believes is a loving relationship.

Police say the victim was upset and feels foolish after being taken in by the scam

Police say the victim was upset and feels foolish after being taken in by the scam

After a thorough investigation by Derbyshire Constabulary, the case has now been passed to authorities in Nigeria to investigate.

Digital Police Community Support Officer, James Land, said: "The pair got talking after playing games on Facebook. The investigation could not conclude if the profile was fake but there were pictures of an individual used.

"The victim is obviously upset and feels foolish for being taken in by the scam. The amount of cash is of course significant, however, it has not bankrupted the victim.

“Online dating can be a brilliant way of finding love in the modern world; however, people need to keep their wits about them. The emotional relationships that people strike up online can be very strong – even when they may never have met in person.

“Conmen rely on that connection to extract money from victims.

“And once they know they have the potential to get their hands on cash they will keep coming back for more."

Mr Land said anybody concerned about someone they know being a victim of dating fraud should contact Action Fraud as soon as possible on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk

He added: "While the majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, people who are using these sites should be wary when entering into a new relationship – and especially if money is ever asked for."

He advised people to only use reputable dating websites, never give money to people you meet online, avoid giving away too many personal details, and do not give your bank details to somebody you have only just met online.

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