Online Romeos targeting lonely women

FOREIGN fraudsters posing as desirable men on dating websites have been targeting lonely middle-aged women to dupe them into handing over money, police have warned.

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Local woman Caroline Stockley, pictured, 48, has spoken publicly of her devastation after falling victim to the scam and losing £628.

And police confirmed one local a month was falling victim to such fraudsters, with the largest loss to date being £2,000.

‘It is typically people who have been single for a long time,’ said Detective Sergeant Sarah-Jane Snowdon of the joint Guernsey Police/Guernsey Border Agency Financial Intelligence Service.

Miss Stockley began using a dating website late last year and was soon building up a relationship with a man calling himself Jack.

He claimed to live in the island with his six-year-old daughter, Rosemary, and was soon showering Miss Stockley with compliments.

But the liaison soon took a sinister and financially draining twist.

‘Jack’ said he had taken his daughter to South Africa and after no contact for a day, when it had regularly been two or three times every day, ‘Jack’ got in contact with some devastating news.

‘[He said] his precious Rosemary was in intensive care having fallen in the bath, fracturing her skull. He said she had a bleed on the brain and need a life-saving operation. He had already had to pay £2,900.’

Comments for: "Online Romeos targeting lonely women"

Local Dad

I think she is a very brave woman to go public about something like this and let others learn from her experience. Hopefully others will heed her warning.

Good on you Caroline.

Cousin Vinny

I agree that she's brave. Whilst she has been a little naive, it's the good in people that these types of scammers exploit which is to her credit.

It goes to show that information and education about the dangers of social media isn't something just needed by kids but, to some extent, probably all of us.

Oh Dear

I totally agree. I think those in the middle bracket are probably okay when it comes to using the web. The 20-30 year olds seem to be more wary of scams etc. Everyone else should be educated.

This particular scam has been around for quite some time. Hopefully this story will stop anyone else (who read it) from falling for the same thing.

soph

Thanks Caroline for going public

Internet & social sites leave too many sucked in by scams

Be warned, be careful

GUERNSEY FRED

I want a new bike, Can i have £400?

That should cover it, i have my own bell.

Beanjar

There have been several documentaries on TV about this sort of thing. In most cases the lovesick romeo turns out to be stringing dozens of women along concurrently from an internet cafe in Nigeria. Quite often 'their' photo turns out to be a model from a magazine advert. Many scam victims part with cash. Their lies can be quite convincing, after all they get lots of practice.

Lindsay Mitchell

Well done to Caroline Stockley for bringing this to the public's attention. It is a lesson for everyone that if someone you hardly know or don't know at all asks for money, they're conning you - simple as that. Here's to Caroline finding someone genuine soon!

Drew Peacock

If the public need this brought to their attention then there is no hope for humanity.....this is surely common sense??

damo

Good on you for having the guts to come forward. Hopefully your story will inspire people to be more scrupulous of overseas 'romeos'

Devil's Advocate

http://www.419eater.com/

Steve

Good on her for coming out with this although I would say both women and men should be careful of these kind of scams. Someone once tried scamming me claiming to be a woman from america moving over to Guernsey. Fortunately I did not believe a word and used a very helpful web site. It isn't full prof but when they send a picture run it through a web site called tineye (i don't think web links will work here). Tineye will show if that image is anywhere else on the internet so you can see if they have just plucked an image from a web site.

Mark

Good advice. You can also copy the url of an image into a Google Image Search or drag an image from your computer into the Google Image search bar. This will bring up a list of sites where the image is being used and also show images that are potentially similar. Tineye is great, but Google index many more images so you're more likely to get a match. Use them both for extra peace of mind. Oh and kudos Caroline for speaking publicly about this. I hope someone genuine comes along soon.

Tourgand

Caroline you are not alone. The whole population was scammed by the bankers who promised us untold riches with easy money and large debt.

This shows how everyone can fall for something like this. You only lost £618, others have lost their job, house, marriages and health by falling for the false promises of the finance sector.

Hope everything works out OK and really glad you had the confidence and foresight to bring your experience to a wider audience.

Rae

I actually had a scammer come to my door

Luckily I wasn't in but he left me a lovely letter with all sorts of promises about how he wanted to make my life better,how he respected me and how he was a kindly person bent on doing as much good as possible, not only for me but for all my neighbours too

The letter ended with Vote for Tony Webber

markB

Ha Ha!! that cheered my day up!!

Joshua

It often makes me wonder what is the best course of action in these situations.

The very difficult, costly and often fruitless effort of trying to trace, track and prosecute a foreign national over the internet, of which they're innumerous numbers of.

Of educating naive, vulnerable and ignorant people to scams.

I take issue at the word "targeting" in this article though, more often then not these attacks are as broad as possible by their very nature less than a fraction of a percent of people are going to fall for such scams, so these are often very broad and refereed to as "phishing". I can't help but feel it's being used to further criminalise the criminal, when all they do is dangle a hook and wait for a sucker to bite.

But, here's "Josh's Patented Guide to Telling Internet Scams"

* If it seems too good to be true, it is.

* If you wonder "why is this young attractive person messaging little old me", it's to rip you for as much cash as you have.

* Your bank won't tend to email you. if an email from your bank asks for you to do anything, phone your bank to verify DO NOT USE PHONE NUMBERS ON THE EMAIL!! - hint, if you don't have an account with the bank in question, IT'S A SCAM!

* Don't reply to anything, it's not rude to ignore text on your screen from god knows who, it's common sense.

* You havn't won the lottery, lotto, BBC Lottery, European Lottery etc

* Nobody ever has a legitimate reason to ask you for your password

* Nobody from Microsoft will ever phone you, email you, offer to speed up your PC.

* If it's from Nigeria it's probably a scam

* You can't win competitions if you never entered them

* Treat everything as suspicious

* Never follow advise from me, or anybody else on the internet.

* Seriously, don't listen to a word I said, it's all designed to scam you

* Do you believe what I just said?

* Good, you're now questioning something you read on the internet, do this for everything else on the internet that tells you to do something.

* Unless it's from your long lost relative in Nigeria who left you their estate for a small transfer fee, that's totally legit.

* Read back four points.

* Cool wash on 30 for best results

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing

Oh Dear

I'd also recommend that if there is an address in the email etc. Use google maps to check it's real.

I was looking at online job scams. There was one that claimed to be a multi-national business with a factory in the UK. They had the address of the factory so I searched it. Google maps took me to a tiny little bungalow out in the country.

If it was a factory I can't imagine they make many products for their "multi-national" company.

sue

Why go on a website there is plenty of

Local lads here looking for a partner.

blindorange

Well done Caroline, it takes courage to own up to a mistake but you can at least be happy that you have warned others to be careful.

Joshua, a post everyone should copy and paste up next to their computers. Good advice with a bit of humour which helps imprint it on the mind.

No one should smugly assume they are too clever to fall for a scam, and there are many people out there who are otherwise quite intelligent people who can be taken in. It never hurts to repeat the advice over and over again.

Will

Social networks should tell the user where the other user is via ip address, if the other user clicks a button to expose their ip->location address.

So should banks (and paypal) on a slightly more proactive basis.