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Revealing 5 Heartbreaking Romance Scammer Stories – Beware Of Online Deception

Romance scams are now more prevalent than ever. In 2022, over 70,000 people in the US reported they had become the victim of a romance scam, with total losses of over $1.3 billion. Romance scams work because they target somebody who is searching for a ‘connection’ with another person. The scammer already knows that the person on the other end of their messages will likely be receptive to their advances, they just need to know which buttons to push to try and build up that rapport and trust.

Unfortunately, romance scams often have the biggest fallout. Not only will a person likely end up losing a sizeable sum of cash, but they’ll end up losing somebody who they thought they were in love with.

On this page, we want to share five heartbreaking romance scammer stories. These are all true stories sourced from the media. We’ll not only tell you what happened but give some indication about why it happened. This page will show you that everybody has the potential to fall for a romance scammer, even if you keep your wits about you. Hopefully, this information will spur you on toward keeping safer online.

Marjorie and Gerald


Marjorie had lost her husband, and she figured it was time to start looking for romance online. Well, that or a bit of friendship. She found a website aimed at over 50s and started to talk to Gerald. He claimed that while he owned a business in the UK, he was in Dubai and thus couldn’t meet her in person. He was more than happy to chat on the phone, though.

After a few months of talking, Gerald started to indicate that his business was having cash flow issues. He claimed that if he didn’t receive money soon, his business may end up crumbling. Essentially, he was begging Marjorie for a loan. He shared details of his passport, business, etc. He even shared a potential check that he claimed would be cashed once the project was completed. This would allow Marjorie to get her money back.

In total, Marjorie sent £76,000 to Gerald. She tried to make a further transfer to Gerald, but various fraud checks at her bank stopped this in its tracks, allowing Marjorie to discover that Gerald was a fake person and that she had become the victim of an online romance scam.

In this story, there are multiple times when Marjorie could have spotted that she could potentially have become the victim of a scammer. Although, like most people, she was so blindly in love with the person she was sending money to, it was tough to realize:

  • She used a dating website aimed at the over 50s. These websites are a known hotbed for online romance scammers since it is much easier to target the elderly.
  • Gerald refused to meet her in person. This is often a big red flag. If somebody refuses to meet you in person, there’s a good chance they are a scammer. If they aren’t a scammer, it may not always be a relationship worth pursuing.
  • Gerald asked Marjorie for money for his business. She had never met him, yet he wanted substantial sums of cash. This is often a big red flag for a scam. In addition to this, Gerald gave her specific information to share with the bank to ensure they wouldn’t pick up on his fraud. This showed that he was well-versed in scamming people.

Alice’s Story


Alice’s story starts in much the same way as Marjorie’s story. Alice had lost her husband and, at the age of 81, she wanted to meet some new people. However, she didn’t head to a dating website. She wasn’t really interested in that. Instead, she just played a dash of online Scrabble. It was here that she fell in love.

Alice started to play online Scrabble, just to keep her mind occupied. It was here that she found a man who claimed to be in his 60s, a multi-millionaire, and living in the US. Over the course of a year or so, the two built up a strong relationship. They also played a lot of online Scrabble. At no point did Alice tell anybody who she was talking to.

Eventually, the two moved to a different chat format so they could talk more intensely. It was here that they started to ‘date’. Of course, the requests for money started to happen shortly after. The multi-millionaire needed cash for a ton of different reasons, including lost bank cards (he needed to pay for surgery), an arrest that led to bail needing to be paid, and the fact he had access to zero cash on the oil rig where he worked. The scam was elaborate to, with almost perfect mock-ups of official government documentation.

Once again, there was no meeting in person. When the scam was discovered, the scammer worked incredibly hard to try to convince Alice that she hadn’t been scammed, and that the whole world was trying to stop her from being with him.

Unfortunately, Alice couldn’t break free of the grip herself. Eventually, her brother needed to get power of attorney over her finances, meaning that she was unable to spend the cash herself. She tried to get around these restrictions, but they only got tighter.

This story shows:

  • Romance scams can start anywhere. They do not always start on dating platforms.
  • Scammers can take a while to build up a relationship. It was nearly a year before the first request for money happened.
  • Scammers will often insist, heavily, that they are not scammers.

Jennifer’s Story


Jennifer was 75 when this scam started. Like all the stories on this list of heartbreaking romance scammer stories, she was feeling alone. She wasn’t necessarily looking for love but wanted companionship. It was on Facebook that her scammer, Caleb, first reached out to her.

Caleb claimed to be from Yemen. He claimed to work for the Red Cross, and he was planning to move somewhere near Jennifer soon. After a few months of chatting, Caleb suggested that he and Jennifer should move in together. He suggested they should buy a house. He said he would pay most of the cash ($600,000) and Jennifer could pay the rest, $78,700. As you can probably imagine, Jennifer thought that this was a fantastic idea. She’d live with somebody she loved (who she claimed reminded her of her deceased husband), and she’d have a house for just $78,700.

On the moving day, Jennifer packed up her home and drove to where she thought her new house would be. She knocked on the door, and that is when she discovered she had been the victim of a scam. At this point, she was now completely homeless and had to spend the next few months living in a camper van.

She never heard from Caleb again. She never received her money back.

Caleb worked by playing into Jennifer’s emotions. He clearly had done his research on her and her husband. He knew what to say to make Jennifer the most responsive. He also played things slowly. In fact, even Jennifer was surprised at how slowly everything moved. She claimed it was months before he even suggested receiving money. Although, once again, at no point did he suggest the two of them meet before living with one another.

Remember – the scam began on Facebook. Caleb deliberately targeted her, likely because he knew her husband had recently passed away. Always be dubious of somebody who reaches out on platforms like this. Well, if you don’t know them, and they are reaching out at a time of great emotional stress.

Georgina’s Story


Georgina’s story is another one that starts on Facebook. As with most Facebook scammers, it started with a friend request from a lonely guy. He called himself Jim. He claimed he was in the military, currently stationed in Afghanistan. He said he had recently lost his wife to cancer. Interestingly, it was a similar story to Georgina. She had recently lost her husband to the disease, which goes to show how much research scammers are willing to do to feel ‘close’ to somebody.

It wasn’t too long before Jim said he had been moved to Nigeria, and his experience there made him feel like he wanted to set up a jewelry business in the near future. He claimed that being in Nigeria would allow him to set up his business quicker since gemstones were so cheap there. At this point, the begging for money started. The initial amount sent was $15,000. Georgina thought this was the end of it, but it turns out Kim was arrested at the border for jewelry smuggling. That was another $20,000, and then $10,000, and another $5,00 for lawyer fees. It got to the point where he was begging for cash every single day.

Georgina repeatedly stated she was out of cash, but the begging never stopped, so she went to the police. At this point, she was told that she was being scammed. However, Georgina still felt love for Jim. After all, she had confided in somebody something quite personal to her, and you can’t help but feel the rapport when that happens.

This story is absolutely heartbreaking, as it shows scammers will really play into the ‘needs’ of their target to get what they want. In Georgina’s case, this was friendship, companionship, and somebody to understand what she was going through.

Debby’s Story


Our final story features a woman who recently started a campaign to try and combat romance scammers. Debby Montgomery Johnson is the survivor of a romance scam, and she is doing her best to educate as many people as possible about them.

After Debby lost her husband of 26 years, she was lonely. She had to run his business but had very little time for ‘fun’ activities. Her friends suggested that she should dabble in online dating. One of the first mistakes she made was writing so much for her profile. She shared everything about her life, including the loss of her husband, which made her a prime target for scammers.

After lots of false starts, her ‘dream man’, Eric (from England) reached out to her. It wasn’t too long before she found the conversation so fun that they agreed to move it elsewhere. This is normally a red flag for online scams, but Debby was unaware. They would talk for hours.

In hindsight, Debby knew that she was being love-bombed. She recalls feeling strongly very fast. They talked for months, for hours on end. She has thousands of pages that record her conversations.

It took a long time before Eric requested money and, when he did, it was just a small amount.  Debby agreed quickly since it was barely any cash at all. Not too long after, he needed $2,500 sent through Western Union (virtually untraceable). This is when alarm bells started to ring for Debby, but she was still not well-versed in online dating scams, so she just went through with it.

Over the following 2 years, the requests for money got larger and more frequent. However, Debby still wasn’t aware that there was anything sinister going on. She didn’t know about romance scams, and she genuinely felt like she was in love and forging a connection with somebody whom she had yet to meet.

In the end, Debby eventually sent him $1,080,726, one of the biggest online scams ever. She wasn’t even aware she had been giving this money to him. Eventually, Eric admitted that he scammed her.  Eric eventually showed his real face, and he did. She never heard from him again.


These are just five of the thousands of online romance scammer stories out there. They go to show that anybody can fall for the scammers, and it doesn’t take too much effort to pry money out of a person’s account once they’ve ‘fallen’ for them. While we don’t want to steer you away from online dating, we do want you to take precautions. Look out for the red flags we’ve highlighted here, and don’t give people money. No matter how much they beg, and no matter how strongly you feel for them. If they are not a proper part of your life (i.e. a physical relationship), there’s a strong chance they’re scammers. Steer clear.

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