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Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Woman who thought she met man of her dreams was scammed out of £250,000 | #youtubescams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


If we learned one thing from the Tinder Swindler, it’s that you should always have your whits about you when it comes to online dating.

One woman who learned the hard way is Laura Francis.

The 69-year-old from California thought she’d met the man of her dreams, only to be conned out of a whopping $250,000 (£200,000) – by not one scammer, but two.

It all started when Laura received a friend request on Facebook from a man who went by the name of David Hodge, claiming to be a military doctor.

As soon as she accepted the request, he messaged to tell her that he was on a three-year secret mission for the US Marines in North Korea.

Speaking on an episode of Social Catfish’s Scamfish, Laura explained that within a couple of weeks, they’d struck up a romantic relationship.

Although it was all virtual, David was telling her that they were going to get married and they had a future together.

But one day her online lover told her he’d lost his phone while rescuing his friends from a boat, and so she agreed to cover the cost of a new one.

But this was not an isolated incident. As time went on, Laura shelled out around $12,000 to help David either pay for new phones or borrow them from his friends.

He also promised her he could get her a special diamond engagement ring – the only catch? She’d have to pay for it.

Laura spent $42,568 (£34,983) on what was described as a princess-cut diamond ring, only to receive a cubic zirconia piece worth just $9.99.

Laura Francis paid nearly £35,000 for an £8 ring. Credit: YouTube/Catfished

And his tricks didn’t end there. David continually promised he was going to find a way to come home so the pair could finally be together.

But in order to get there, he told Laura he needed money in Bitcoin. As well as wiring him money through Coinbase, she also sent $30,000 for Google Hangouts accounts – despite the fact that the service is free.

Eventually, Laura told her family members about David. “I showed by daughter his picture and she goes, ‘Mum, I don’t think so,’” she explained.

Thankfully, her daughter managed to track down the man in the photos – unsurprisingly, it was not David Hodge.

When she confronted David, he fed her more BS and she decided to cut him out of her life and look for someone new online.

And this is where Robert Manguire comes in.

She has been left devastated by both the loss. Credit: YouTube/Catfished

The pair met on Plenty of Fish and immediately hit it off. And when they started chatting about past relationships, the scamming saga came up.

Robert immediately told her David was a con artist. He also claimed to be a hacker who could help her get back all of her money. Do you see where this is going?

Eventually, her new online boyfriend said he ‘found’ her money online – all she’d have to do to get it back is pay a ‘fee’ of $12,000 (£9,850).

“I sent $12,000 for the fee and he said, ‘Okay, well, something happened and that wasn’t enough, you need to send another amount,’” she said.

“And it just went on and on like that. I wound up, long story short, sending $37,000 to that company that was a fake company.”

Laura became so frustrated over the situation that she went back to David, who had previously messaged her to allege that Robert was the one who was scamming her.

Social Catfish are now helping Laura with her case. Credit: YouTube/Catfished
Social Catfish are now helping Laura with her case. Credit: YouTube/Catfished

“I didn’t know who was lying to me,” she added. “Turns out, they were both lying to me.”

The people behind the fake accounts were in the scheme together. Laura understandably feels a mix of emotions – not only is she devastated about the financial loss, but she also feels like she’s lost a partner.

The team at Social Catfish are now investigating the scam, using blockchain technology to trace the source back to Lagos, Nigeria.

While she’s still waiting to hear back from her Attorney General’s Office, Laura was able to confront the conman over the phone with the help of a Social Catfish worker, leaving her with at least some peace of mind that she got her point across.

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