For Love or Money: Woman in tears after being scammed
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Heidi, 54, was playing games online with her friends when a man using a fake identity and alias of ‘Nathan Hopewell’ got in contact with her. They started to speak frequently over a few months and she eventually sent him £36,000. She said: “He promised I would get it back very soon.”
Heidi explained that Nathan claimed to be a mineralogist doing underwater welding. He said he lived in Wisconsin but worked near the Cuban sea for his latest project.
He had sent her videos of him welding and pictures with work friends to convince her of his occupation.
She said: “He kept saying, ‘I love you’ even thought he’d never met me.”
After a few weeks, Nathan claimed to be sick and sent Heidi a picture in hospital. However he told her he could not pay for the medical bills as he had no insurance.
He said he had managed to build up some money but asked Heidi for the remaining £550, which she sent.
He later asked for another £700 for medication, which she also sent.
Sadly, this was not the end of it. Nathan continued to ask her for money for faulty equipment and to pay his staff.
She said: “He kept saying I’ll get it back at the end of the contract.
“I couldn’t back out now or else I’ve lost what I’ve already paid so I kept going.”
Heidi claimed she paid just over £1,000 to keep Nathan’s project on track.
To show his gratitude, Nathan said he would visit Heidi in the UK and pay her back her money, however he could not come until the job was finished.
Nathan asked for more money to help him complete the contract.
Heidi said she felt pressured to make these further payments.
She said: “If the contract wasn’t finished, they wouldn’t get paid.
“Him, his men, me, nobody.
“So the pressure was you won’t get paid.”
Heidi transferred Nathan another £4,000.
The first two or three payments came out of Heidi’s wages, and the rest came out of her savings.
Heidi made sacrifices to her own spending to send Nathan monthly transfers.
In total she ended up sending him £36,000.
She explained to Kym that she hesitated “every time” she sent him money, however she thought if she stopped, there would be no chance she would get her money back.
Heidi explained that a lot of this money was borrowed. She took £4,000 from her mother, £2,000 from friends , £7,500 was from her redundancy and the rest was her savings.
“All of my savings,” she said, adding that she felt “deeply offended”.
Heidi hoped that Nathan was not a scammer however she said she would cut contact with him if she found out that he was.
“I would feel hurt and betrayed. I tried to trust him,” she said.
After investigating Heidi’s case, Ashley found that Nathan’s profile was in fact fake. The person behind the profile was a scammer.
The documents and pictures he had sent her were not genuine.
She said: “I suppose it’s a relief to get it sorted and try to draw a line under it.
“I was really hoping it wasn’t a scam.
She said the most surprising things were that she had “missed so many spelling errors and mistakes” and that she didn’t see how badly the photos had been digitally altered.
For Love or Money will continue tomorrow at 11am on BBC one
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