Podcast: Vulnerable man gave thousands to fraudster he thought loved him

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Message Type Icon Podcast: Vulnerable man gave thousands to fraudster he thought loved him
Dear Mandy Don’t miss the next episode from our latest podcast series… Like many people struggling with loneliness after the breakdown of a relationship, retired dentist Simon Frost, from Soham, turned to the internet looking for company, friendship and possibly love. Sadly, it didn’t work out as he’d hoped. In the second season of the force’s “Cambs Cops: Our Stories” podcast, Simon, who is in his late 70s, speaks openly about the heartbreak of falling victim to a romance scam.  In “I thought she loved me”, released today (16 August), Simon explains how meeting a woman online turned from a dream into a nightmare. He said: “I’d been living in Spain for 30 years when I returned to the UK, leaving my wife and life behind. “I started chatting to people online and it developed from there.  “I just wanted someone I could chat to on a one-to-one basis and be friendly with. I chatted to one woman almost daily and it developed very quickly into showing interest in each other, having conversations about family life etc. “She started asking me for money for a whole host of reasons. I first sent money over for her mother who she said was unwell, which I later discovered obviously wasn’t true.” To date, Simon has transferred more than £30,000 to different people he met online, who he now knows weren’t who they said they were. In the episode, we also speak to one of Cambridgeshire’s cybercrime and fraud prevention officers, Kate Thwaites, who has been helping Simon stay safe online. She said: “Simon’s story is sadly very common. The fraudsters themselves are very sophisticated and often know who to target. They gather evidence over a number of weeks and months and develop a relationship and build trust before asking people for money.  “For many lonely and vulnerable people, the person online may be the only person they chat to all week, so even if they suspect something isn’t quite right, to speak to that person is better than no one, so it can be very difficult to break the cycle. “Some of the key red flags to be aware when speaking to someone online include… ·  Asking you to move onto another platform: Fraudsters often try to move victims onto other platforms and sites to chat, away from the protection and monitoring of a professional dating site  ·  Professional photographs: Often fraudsters will use polished and professional-looking photos on their profiles as they often take them from other areas of the web   ·  Emotive scenarios: When asking you for money, fraudsters will often concoct elaborate or emotive stories, either about an illness, a crisis or perhaps for a business venture or travel costs to come and see you  ·  A reluctance to meet: For obvious reasons, fraudsters often show a reluctance to meet up in person or will let you down at the last minute giving an excuse as to why they couldn’t make it To listen to the podcast episode, or for more information about the new series, visit the force’s dedicated podcast web page. For more on fraud and how to protect yourself from scams, visit the force’s dedicated webpage.  Kind regards,  
Message Sent By
Larissa Chapman
(Police, Communications officer , Corporate Communications)