Personal finance

Man in his 60s loses nearly £100,000 to scammer | Personal finance | Finance

Graham, 60, appeared on yesterday morning’s episode of For Love or Money, explaining how he sold his beloved vintage motorbike and used the proceeds from the sale of his house to fund what turned out be a crook. After separating from his wife, Graham found someone claiming to be Maryanne, a 39-year-old gold trader from Oxford who was stuck in Dubai on business.

Graham had been married for 33 years, but with the children leaving home and his multiple sclerosis (MS) affecting him, the once happy couple decided to go their separate ways.

He explained: “With MS the days are different, you can have a good day one day and a bad day the next.” He added that he and his now ex-wife “have separated”.

After separating from his wife, Graham found an online dating site where he first came into contact with Maryanne Smith in January 2019.

He shared: “She was bubbly, she was a lot of fun. She was nice to talk to. That’s when I was able to help her out a bit with some money and that wasn’t is that at that time, when I sold my house in March of this year, I was able to send him a lot of money.

“We understood that it would only ever be a loan and it was getting more and more crescendo where she could be with me in a few days and I would send her more money. Ultimately it didn’t happen. She never came. »

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The couple had bonded over their common interests of motorcycles and religion and Graham was desperate to get her back to the UK.

Maryanne told Graham she had taken over her parents’ gold trading business and was in Dubai arranging 200 kilos of gold to return with her to the UK.

However, she first had to pay heavy export and import taxes to move the gold anywhere.

Graham shared: “She said she needed £18,000 for hotel bills and she had the goods she was buying and needed to get them back to Britain. She ended up getting a lot of money from me.

For six months, Graham sent Maryanne £17,500 to cover food, accommodation and security costs for the company handling her gold.


Graham had asked for proof and had been quite suspicious of his online romance on several occasions, when Maryanne sent documents as proof, got him to talk to his friends and even put him in touch with Interpol to corroborate his story.

By this point, Graham had sold his prized vintage motorcycle to help fund Maryanne’s needs.

In March 2020, her divorce was finalized and the family home was sold, with Maryanne promptly requesting a profit share.

She told Graham that was the final amount needed and that after sending it she could be home in a few days.

Within two months Graham paid £50,000, but Maryanne had to travel to America due to complications.

Graham continued: ‘She needed extra money, £1,500 for hotel bills, I knew that was coming and paid for it, but now it’s left me with nothing. She should have been here in a day or two by then. Now we’ve come to the second week since I last spoke to her and I can see she’s never coming back.

By this point, Graham had sent Maryanne £98,500.

Their relationship had mostly been through email, as well as those trying to corroborate Maryanne’s story.

During the investigation of the show, it became clear that most of the emails were fake, with one believed to be sent by the police in fact from a reply-to address with the name capitan747detective6 .

Additionally, there were spelling mistakes in official emails, logos of legitimate companies had been reproduced on letterheads, and images that Maryanne claimed to be her were found on a website. scam warning from 2013.

On the programme, co-host Ashley John-Baptiste texted Maryanne posing as a friend of Graham’s and asked how to get her to the UK.

She replied: ‘I need around £8,500 to pay all my bills here because I’ve been here so long. It’s not the best time to talk, we just have to do what I said and I’ll be home.

Mr. John-Baptiste then also called the person posing as Maryanne, posing as Graham who had already spoken on the phone with her.

She said, “It was terrible! It’s a long story, we haven’t spoken in a while, I must have been through so much stress here. All I want to do now is go home. I talked to your friend about how he could help, so I don’t know if you can give him the go-ahead to make the payment. I already told your friend that I needed around £8,500. That should be enough to pay my hospital bills and pay for everything I need here.

However, as soon as Mr John-Baptiste admitted he was not Graham and the call was recorded for broadcast on the BBC, the line was immediately cut.

Confronted with the fact that he had been scammed, Graham said: “I’m really grateful because you gave me closure. Don’t let anyone else be trapped in the same method. Two years of scam!

For Love or Money airs weekdays from the BBC at 10:00.