Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Scammer posing as James Martin tricks Nottinghamshire victim into handing over £5,000 | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing


Nottinghamshire Police is warning online daters about the dangers of fake celebrity profiles after a woman was duped out of thousands of pounds by a romance fraudster posing as TV chef James Martin. The Nottinghamshire woman believed she was exchanging messages with the ITV star on Facebook and lost about £5,000 in the scam.

Reports of romance fraud have soared in recent years but the true extent is unknown as many victims are too embarrassed to come forward. Twelve cases were reported to Nottinghamshire Police in September, with a further 11 cases reported to the force in August.




Of these cases, three were categorised as celebrity impersonator scams, also called ‘catfishing’. This involves fraudsters creating and curating convincing profiles to deceive and lure in dedicated fans.

In the James Martin catfishing example, the woman ignored three messages before the scammer managed to convince her he was the TV chef. He then coerced the woman into lending him money, which she didn’t get back.

The second example involved a vulnerable woman who was conned into purchasing and transferring Steam Gift Cards after believing she’d been talking to Il Divo singer Urs Bühler for two months. A third woman was tricked into believing she was communicating with Take That frontman Gary Barlow on TikTok.

She was coerced into sending explicit images which the trickster threatened to share if she didn’t pay him money. She refused, and blocked the person and thankfully nothing has happened since – although the episode left her upset and anxious.

Detective Sergeant Tara Clapperton, of Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud prevention team, explained how typical celebrity impersonator romance scams work. She said: “These scammers exploit fans’ trust and enthusiasm to perpetrate impostor scams, aiming to illicitly gain financial benefits, personal data, or even install malicious software such as malware or ransomware on their victims’ devices. The scammers will usually target victims on social media platforms, particularly Facebook, or dating apps, such as Tinder.

“But they might quickly try to move the conversation onto another private messaging platform, like WhatsApp. Typically they will come across as very caring and attentive, messaging back and forth – sometimes over a period of months – to build trust and give the impression that the relationship is genuine.



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