The award for the most gullible person of all time goes to 26-year-old Andrew Marven who this week revealed he’d sent £38,000 to three different ‘women’ he’d met online (and never in person) since 2019, who all turned out to be scammers who ran off with his money.
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Andrew joined Match.com as a means of putting himself out there and meeting new people, but instead of finding himself a girlfriend, managed to get hook, line and sinkered by three separate scammers who each posed as a single woman online and tricked him into handing over his money. The accounts sent him photos and spoke to him on WhatsApp, with one even ‘appearing’ on Skype (more on that later).
As Andrew made all the transcations himself, his bank has told him they can’t recover his money. Worse still, Match.com have ‘not cooperated’ with Andrew’s requests for information about the accounts.
Andrew told the Metro:
I feel depressed and ashamed by what’s happened. I was a kind of a bit desperate, I suppose, as I’ve never had a relationship before. They gained my trust and, of course, they told me they loved me.
I had about £40,000 in a savings account, and I just kept transferring more and more over. I’m now not so sure how much is left in there, it’s a very low number.
I know I need to have a proper look, but seeing the amount that I’ve lost – it hurts me in the stomach.
The first ‘woman’ claimed to be a 25-year-old American student named Audrey, and took £18,000 from Andrew overall. She had asked for his help returning to the US and opening a ‘locked bank account’ with help from her ‘lawyer’, who he was also in contact with.
Here are a couple of fake documents ‘she’ sent him as part of the scam:
Andrew then began talking to a second ‘woman’, who pretended to be someone called Lydia, aged 28 and originally from Kentucky. She requested that Andrew lend her around £200 a month for ‘upkeep and food’ and he spent around £900 on her in total.
Andrew was conned out of the most money during the third scam, in which he was talking to – you guessed it – an American ‘woman’ named Lucy. She told him her ‘attorney’ had a valuable gem, and asked him to pay for her flights, taxis and legal costs linking to its sale. Not suspicious at all!
This was the ‘valuable gem’, apparently:
Andrew believed he had actually met Lucy on Skype. However, turns out the scammers used a video of a woman sitting at a computer and claimed the microphone wasn’t working as they typed out her answers. D’oh!
To make things even worse, Andrew’s Facebook account was hacked while he was communicating with Lucy, and his family members were also targeted and asked for money online. How many red flags do you need??
This has pretty much depleted my savings. I had to tell my dad eventually because the loan company called the house and now I give most of my wages to him as kind of safe-keeping.
The way I was living before, and the way I am living now, there’s a very big difference. I’m having to make cuts left right and centre. I feel like my life has been turned upside down.
I’m now no better off than I was to begin with, only out of pocket. I just want to warn other people about online dating, and the holes you can fall into.
I think usually it’s women who talk about this kind of thing, so I want to put my hand up and say I’ve been catfished. Hopefully it can prevent someone from going through the same.
Well, you know what they say. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times? Um… then you should probably put a family member in charge of your bank accounts and only go on the internet when fully supervised. I mean I know Andrew admits he was desperate and all, but come on! Three times in the space of 2 years!
I’m not sure how much Metro paid him for his story but let’s hope he reimbursed at least a fraction of that £38,000. Let’s also hope Match.com stop pissing about and track down these scam accounts so that they don’t pull anything like this on someone else. In the meantime Andrew, may we suggest Tinder? Good luck!
For more of the same, get a load of the 75-year-old OAP who was conned out of £20,000 by a fake girlfriend posing as a porn star. Hey, he’s 75! It’s somewhat more understandable.