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"My embarrassment is overwhelming but I feel that I must take this step in reporting my experience in order to help promote awareness and to help other innocents to avoid such devastating situations," she added.Five scams on the rise in 2014 Protect yourself against dating fraud • Trust your instincts.
Back in 2010, Brenda Parke, a 60-year-old retiree, was scammed out of £60,000 after joining an online dating site and befriending a man purporting to be a successful Dutch businessman called Bradford Cole.
Through subtle manipulation, the fraudster encouraged Ms Parke to pay up.
Though hesitant, she eventually made the transfers and went on to send a further £44,500 to Mr Cole for various travel costs, accommodation, and to help him with his business.
Ms Parke realised her mistake when Mr Cole failed to arrive at Birmingham airport where they had agreed to meet so that he could go to the bank with her and return her money.
"With great hindsight, I am fully aware of how utterly stupid I have been," said Ms Parke, "and I appreciate that there is little, if any, chance of getting my money back.