Scam warning: Devastated widow targeted for £1,400 by ‘charming’ scammer | Personal Finance | Finance

Susan was widowed and devastated by her husband’s passing, but after a while, her children encouraged her to meet someone else. It was at this time that her daughter put her on an online dating website in hopes of reinvigorating her mother’s social life.

Here, she came across the profile of a man she thought she might get into a relationship with. The person was using a false identity and alias “Perry Powell.”

Appearing on BBC One’s For Love or Money, Susan said: “When I saw Perry Powell on the site, I thought he was handsome and very charming.”

The man claiming to be Perry said he was a divorced surgeon currently working in Israel after being sent there by the United Nations.

It wasn’t long before the couple left the dating website and got on the phone.

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However, to bring it back to the UK legally, you would have to pay the duties: asking £470 for a customs certificate from Israel.

Susan said: “He kept making excuses. They were quite convincing. She said it would just be a loan, and I swallowed it and believed it. I went with my heart instead of my head.”

Perry then sent Susan a receipt that appeared to be from Israeli customs, which she thought proved the matter was legitimate.

In total, Susan had sent £1,400 to the person she thought she would have a relationship with.

However, the connection between the two quickly fell apart when presenter Ashley-John Baptise spoke with DCI Gary Miles, an economic crime specialist for the Met Police.

The officer was able to determine that the customs documents were fake, as the names did not match and spelling errors were included.

The image of the man allegedly holding Susan’s book had been digitally altered, and a reverse image search also showed that the images used by the man claiming to be “Perry Powell” were actually of an innocent man named Fred who lives in Holland.

Given these details, Susan said: “I feel quite sad about all this. I feel stupid, like I’ve become an idiot.”

But the show’s hosts were eager to take matters further, calling the scammer at first posing as Susan and then looking for answers.

Presenter Kym Marsh said: “You are being recorded for broadcast on the BBC. We believe that Perry Powell is a false identity that he has created as part of a scam.”

The scammer quickly refuted this, saying, “That’s all bullshit. That’s silly. How can he be saying this? I don’t see any truth in that.”

He kept hanging up the phone.

Susan, though upset, seemed determined to put the whole saga behind her.

She added, “Although I am quite shocked, she sounded like a totally different person than I had imagined. I feel like she’s not in my life anymore and I’m glad.”

For Love or Money continues on BBC One weekdays at 10am.

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