Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Gran, 79, scammed out of £250k after her WhatsApp dating ‘with Mamma Mia! actor’ | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans


Super-bright Elizabeth Ferguson had been a senior university manager before running a successful business – but a man posing as a lovelorn telecoms expert tricked her in just months into handing him her savings

Elizabeth Ferguson had been a senior university manager before running a successful business(Photopress Belfast)

A gran widowed after 51 years of marriage, who turned to online ­dating to lift herself out of loneliness, has told how she was cruelly scammed out of £250,000.

Super-bright Elizabeth Ferguson had been a senior university manager before running a successful business. Yet a man posing as a lovelorn telecoms expert tricked her in just months into handing him her savings, then bor­­rowing more from friends and family. Elizabeth, 79, a mum of two with four grandkids, says: “I still can’t believe the nightmare I’ve been through.”




In April 2022, three years after husband George’s death and desperate to quell her loneliness, she joined dating site Match. Almost immediately, she spotted Courtney Roy. She says: “His profile said he was 68 and his interests included nature, travelling and volunteering. His pictures showed a normal, good-looking man, and he said he lived in Dublin. He seemed like someone I could have a conversation with.”

As they chatted on WhatsApp, he told Elizabeth – who lives close to Dublin herself – that he had divorced his cheating wife, and claimed he had been raised by his grandparents in Cyprus after losing his parents in a car crash. She says: “This was part of the scam. Not just to gain my sympathy, but to explain errors in his written English.”

An actual photo of Canadian actor Ian Simpson

Elizabeth shared details of her own life, and says: “I felt the connection grow. Courtney responded to my photos by saying I was beautiful. His interest was definitely flattering.” After he suggested travelling to meet her, they had their first video call. She says: “It was near impossible to see or hear him but it didn’t seem odd. Connections can be bad anywhere.”

Just as they were due to meet, he said he needed to travel urgently, to install a 5G network on a Japanese oil rig in the North Sea. Elizabeth admits: “I was disappointed. My life was busy but Courtney had brought another aspect.” Then, he made a bizarre suggestion. She says: “He told me to buy a black T-shirt and some men’s scent, which cost me £160. I was to spray it on the shirt and wear it in bed, listening to a song he sent, to feel connected to him.

“He sent pictures of him on the oil rig in protective gear and arriving by helicopter. They reinforced everything. I had no reason to doubt this busy, successful man – who I was starting to fall for – was who he said he was.’’ But now the scammer was ready to get to Elizabeth’s money. She says: “The first step was a message that he needed $70,000 for some expensive equipment. He wasn’t asking me for money, just to log in to his bank account and make the transfer as his signal was terrible. It was a sign of his trust in me.”

Three years after husband George’s death and desperate to quell her loneliness, she joined dating site Match(Collect)

Seeing a balance of $1.45million in the account, she transferred the $70,000 for him. She says: “He was so grateful. So when he messaged that he needed another $7,000 to cover transfer costs, and asked me to do the same again, I agreed.” But that transfer failed and he explained something about an IP address, saying he was locked out of his account – asking Elizabeth to use her own money instead.



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