Entertainment National & International

‘I wish I hadn’t given £300,000 to a man I met online,’ says a victim of romance scam.

single image

Names in this article have been changed to protect identities.

In May 2019, Sophia* started speaking to Aaron* on a dating site, according to the BBC.

She was looking to settle down and marry. Aaron said he was too. They talked more, and things started moving quickly.

Sophia didn’t expect to find that later down the line, she would be left with no partner and £300,000 in debt, after giving cash to the man she’d met.

She’s been speaking to BBC Asian Network, and says she was a victim of “romance fraud”, and wants dating apps to take more steps to prevent it.

‘False mortgage documents’

Sophia, and the man she thought was her partner, started speaking about buying a house together – without ever meeting in real life.

Looking back, Sophia feels she was told “many lies” about their future.

She says he created false mortgage documents and emails to solicitors. He was selling her a dream, and she was buying it – literally.

Sophia sent Aaron huge amounts of money he asked for as part of their future plans to buy a house.

“I took out thousands in loans and my entire savings, which equals to around £50,000-60,000.

“Then I borrowed lots of money from family and friends.”

In total, Sophia says she sent him around £300,000.

She’s not the only one to fall for romance fraud. According to UK Finance, there was a 20% increase in bank transfer fraud linked to romance scams between 2019 and 2020.

When he asked for a further £50,000, Sophia decided it was time to question things.

She called her bank, where she believed she had a shared account with Aaron. They told her that her name was not on the account.

“I felt like the ground had opened up beneath me. I could not believe it. I felt like I was in a very bad dream,” she says.

“You see stories, you read stories, you hear about other people’s stories, but you feel like that’s never going to happen to you.

“But it did, because of the emotional abuse that you don’t realise you’re under.”

You may like