Warning as woman tricked out of £5,000 by con artist posing as TV chef James Martin | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Online daters are being warned 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

A con artist posed as James Martin(Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

A woman was tricked out of £5,000 by a con artist posing as TV chef James Martin as police issue a warning over online dating scams.

The unsuspecting woman thought she was chatting with the ITV star on Facebook and ended up losing thousands. Reports of romance fraud have skyrocketed recently, and the true scale is unknown as many victims are too embarrassed to report it.

Nottinghamshire Police said in September alone, twelve cases were reported, with another 11 reported in August. Among these cases, three were classified as celebrity impersonator scams, also known as ‘catfishing’. This involves scammers creating convincing profiles to deceive and attract dedicated fans.

In the case involving James Martin, the woman ignored three messages before the scammer managed to persuade her he was the TV chef. He then manipulated the woman into lending him money, which she never saw again.

Another case involved a vulnerable woman who was duped into buying and transferring Steam Gift Cards after believing she’d been chatting to Il Divo singer Urs Buhler for two months. A third woman was fooled into thinking she was communicating with Take That frontman Gary Barlow on TikTok.

She was tricked into sending explicit images which the fraudster threatened to share if she didn’t cough up some cash, reported NottinghamshireLive. She bravely refused, blocked the person and luckily nothing has happened since although the ordeal left her feeling shaken and worried.

Detective Sergeant Tara Clapperton, from Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud prevention team, shed light on how these celebrity impersonator romance scams typically play out. She explained: “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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