He arrived at the prison for a crime not related to scams. It was there that he illegally got a cell phone and set up a scheme that allowed him to earn thousands. The name – fictitious – is ‘Jamie’ and he was about 20 years old, his story was told to the program File on 4 BBC after being released. For ‘Jamie’ it was just a job. “The maximum I received was 11,600 euros from a woman … every week I sent about 115 or 231 euros,” he revealed. The trick was “easy”. The young man used his image and youth to deceive desperate women in dating applications.
It was through a cell phone that he managed to obtain illegally in prison that he carried out the whole plan. ‘Jamie’ chose the targets after identifying the most lonely and unattended women outside of these applications. In the view of ‘Jamie’ they are women willing to do anything to avoid the risk of losing their connection.
Without fear of using his real photos, as his appearance would help to attract the victims, ‘Jamie’ set out in search of older and desperate women. Usually, the conversation started with “I just want happiness”. He started out cautious, just trying to guarantee the attraction of women based on his photographs. After that, the dream game began. “I want a child with you”, another key phrase of ‘Jamie’ throughout this process. “It just said everything they wanted to hear until they fell in love,” he told the BBC.
After ensuring an emotional connection with the victim, ‘Jamie’ extorted women. Little by little he managed to ‘steal’ hundreds and even thousands from those with whom he spoke. It was all over when ‘Jamie’ revealed he was under arrest, although he never told the truth about the reason for his arrest.
Millions of euros lost through love
In the UK, fraud linked to fake romances points to more than seven thousand complaints that have cost victims more than 81 million euros. One of these women was the widow Di Pogson, 59, who decided to tell her story to BBC.
Di Pogson handed over the savings of a lifetime to a man he met through a dating application. The ‘pink’ story turned out to be a scam. The man she fell in love with did not exist. The 59-year-old widow was the target of a creation by three fraudsters who attacked vulnerable women in southern England.
“I never thought I would be deceived. I was very smart,” she said. “But then ‘Kevin ended up showing up and he looked charming. He was interested in me,” he added. “It started with just under 575 euros for the vet’s bills but the amounts were gradually increasing.” “I was completely broke. The alarm went off and I went to the police,” he concluded.
The police revealed that in 2020 most of the crimes took place during confinement, when people were experiencing difficulties because they were more alone than usual.
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