Stephen, 68, whose name has been modified to guard his identity, lost £6,000 after being approached on LinkedIn by a glamorous fraudster. He desired to warn others concerning the dangers of crypto currency scams.
Stephen was sent a message on LinkedIn by a lady called Alice who claimed to be a finance director in Washington DC but this was a fake identity and alias.
After some polite chat, Stephen said Alice asked him to maneuver onto WhatsApp. There, the conversation turned to crypto currencies.
Alice said that her uncle worked in banking in Hong Kong and that she’d successfully made money along with his help.
She encouraged Stephen to become involved and eventually he downloaded trading apps and a virtual wallet to maintain his crypto money in.
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Stephen had an interest in Bitcoin, but he didn’t understand how the system worked so when Alice began talking about it, he thought he might learn something.
After some early successes, Alice told Stephen to log into one other trading app and talked him through a series of trades her uncle had apparently really helpful.
Stephen said: “Suddenly there have been three transactions on the screen.
“She was telling me, ‘Quick, buy long. Buy short!’ And by the top of it I’d made $600 [around £480].
“I went together with it on several occasions. I used to be saying to myself this is simply too good to be true – and it was.”
Stephen transferred one other £2,300 into the trading account.
At this point, Alice had sent photographs to Stephen of her “looking glamorous”, behind the wheel of high-priced cars and telling him that he’s wonderful.
Stephen added: “She was also telling me she may help me make a lot of money.
“She asked me to purchase $50,000 [around £50,000] (for the trading account), then this went all the way down to $20,000 [around £16,000).
“Then she offered to loan me $12,000 [around £9,000]. I told her that I didn’t need the cash and thought, why is she doing this?”
When Stephen began to drag away, Alice would start asking him why he didn’t love her anymore after which asked him for $5,000 [around £4,000] for a first-class ticket to come back visit him.
When Stephen refused her demands, Alice’s tone modified and he stopped all communication.
Stephen tried to recuperate the $11,000 [around £8,000] he thought he had sitting in his trading account.
He discovered the account was inaccessible. It was a fake trading site.
“I realised I’d been had, good and proper,” Stephen continued.
At this point, Stephen contacted Motion Fraud who forwarded his case to the police.
Stephen is now a member of the Essex Police romance fraud support group and hopes by sharing his story it can stop other people falling into the identical trap.
He said: “I’ll do whatever I can to assist those like me, or those that have lost even greater than me.
“No one likes losing money. I didn’t put in greater than I could afford to lose but this may not be the case for others.”
Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of romance fraud should call police on 101.
For other types of fraud, contact ActionFraud – the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre – by calling 0300 123 2040.