British woman loses £1.6 million to romance scam love rats

Small upside: Australians fall for this stuff even more than Brits

A love-struck British woman has been fleeced of £1.6 million by two men posing as romantic interests she met through an online dating site.

The businesswoman handed over increasingly large sums of cash over 10 months last year to the men totalling US$2.4 million (A$3.3 million).

Nigerian Ife Ojo, 31, and Olusegun Agbaje, 43, pled guilty to the romance scam.

Ojo posed as a student of the London School of Business and Finance while Agbaje claimed to be an admin assistant for the National Health Service in Essex.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Miles of the MET's FALCON operation team said 100 Britons had lost a whopping £4 million to love scams last year alone, but losses are likely much higher.

"The suspects showered them with compliments and confided their seemingly innermost secrets to them [and] in many cases, the suspects were talking to their victims online or over the phone for hours every day," Miles says.

"Victims typically feel embarrassed and ashamed when they realise they have been duped, so they often don’t report what has happened to them or even confide in a friend.

"Victims of this fraud must understand that they are not foolish and they are not alone - the reality is that the fraudsters are extremely manipulative and go to great lengths to convince their victims they are in love and desperately in need of their financial assistance."

Aussies have according to public figures lost more than their British counterparts sending a staggering A$7500 (£3600) a day or A$28 million (£13.5 million) in 2014 alone to romance scammers.

NPR's Reply All speaks to a woman and her romance scammer.

The scammers are making big bucks and those based in countries including Nigeria are largely getting away with the crimes thanks to low levels of police resources.

Australian law enforcement have targeted the love rats for years and report that many victims will continue to hand over money to the scammers, unable to accept that the cash already sent and emotional investment is lost. ®

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