Derby

'Romance fraud': Online dater, 86, conned by woman

Fraud victim
Image caption The man said the deceit, known as "romance fraud", has left him with depression

An 86-year-old man said he was left suicidal after a woman he met through an online dating site conned him out of £6,000.

The man, from Derbyshire, said he fell in love with the woman despite never meeting her in real life, and he is now taking anti-depressants.

The woman claimed to be in her 60s and have grandchildren, but later turned out to be in her early 40s.

Police are investigating and have warned other online daters to be aware.

'She was the one'

"I was made a complete fool of, and she revels in this," said the man, who worked in the computer industry before he retired.

"There is a big gap in my life and I felt that somebody loved me and wanted me and wanted to live with me and share my life.

"I needed a lifetime companion. Loneliness in my advanced years can be quite painful. I was sure that she was the one."

Image caption The man saw photos of the woman but did not realise she was in her early 40s

The divorcee said he spent hours on the telephone to the woman and they sent each other many emails over several weeks.

The woman's dating profile included photos of her with her supposed grandchildren, but they later turned out to be her children.

She conned him by asking for his credit card details, saying she was going buy a train ticket to visit.

"We apparently shared a very deep love and it was almost like giving my card details to my fiancee," he explained.

She bought the ticket but never visited, and instead racked up bills for purchases including a £850 carpet, shoes, electrical products, Amazon orders and a £56 takeaway.

Image caption The man said it was "almost like giving my card details to my fiancee"

The man only realised when his credit card company told him he had reached his £6,000 credit limit.

He tried phoning the woman but she put her phone down, so he emailed instead.

"She replied that she thought I would be happy to make her home nice," he said.

The money has since been refunded by his credit card company, but he said the emotional damage has been far more severe.

"The thing that really depressed me was the deceit of a woman who had assured me that she loved me and wanted to spend her life with me," he said.

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