A maths tutor was conned out of £35,000 after being groomed on a dating site.
Mum-of-two Eva Kedoula, 53, remortgaged her home and handed over thousands of pounds after falling for a man – claiming to be 34 years old, single and called ‘Jesse’ – she met online.
The doting divorcee, who claims Universal Credit, was tricked into thinking he would make her rich after meeting through Facebook Dating, the Mirror reports.
“I took the bait,” she told the Mirror.
“He plugged into my greed. There were lots of things that made it seem legitimate. He made me think I was making money and so I borrowed money I didn’t have.”
Eva hooked up with the scammer in January and soon the crook had sent her a link to the money app.
She deposited £5,000, then got a string of messages from the bogus software suggesting big profits.
Eventually she remortgaged her home and managed to accrue £35,000 of borrowed funds which she transferred through the app.
Eva, of Cricklewood, North London, said: “I thought the app was legitimate. I ignored red flags.”
After a fortnight Eva tried to withdraw her cash but the app said she would have to plough even more money into the account to access her funds.
When she refused they threatened to call Interpol and accused her of being a crook.
Eva said: “I could no longer lie to myself. I messaged Jesse and he tried to gaslight me saying I did something wrong.
“It was then I went to the police.”
Eva reported the con to Action Fraud, which investigates cyber crimes.
Its staff are assessing her information, but experts fear the scammers will never be caught because they operate worldwide.
Eva enlisted the help of Mr Williams-Thomas, now a TV host and private investigator.
“It’s a sophisticated scam worth millions and is operating all over the globe,” the former detective told the Mirror.
He has traced the scam that fleeced Eva to an address in Hong Kong.
lockdown loneliness has helped the romance fraudsters to steal more than £50,000 a day in the UK alone.
The crooks set up false profiles to woo their victims before sweet-talking them into a get-rich-quick scheme.
It involves downloading a fake currency trading phone app tempting users to plough savings into a bogus foreign exchange investment company.
The worldwide con has been reported to British fraudbusters.
Singletons’ savings have been similarly plundered in China, Japan and Central America, with a fortune passing through a network of bank and Bitcoin accounts.
The number of victims caught out by dating site scams last year leapt 20%, according to banking trade body UK Finance.
Around £18.5million was stolen between January and November last year, or £55,000 a day. The average victim lost £7,850.