Susan was widowed and devastated by the death of her husband, but after a while her children encouraged her to meet someone new. That’s when her daughter set her up on an online dating site in hopes of revitalizing her mother’s social life.
Here, she came across the profile of a man she thought she could strike up a relationship with. The person was using a false identity and a pseudonym “Perry Powell”.
Appearing on BBC One’s For Love or Money, Susan said: ‘When I saw Perry Powell on the site I thought he was attractive and very charming.
The man claiming to be Perry said he was a divorced surgeon, currently working in Israel after being posted there by the United Nations.
It wasn’t long before the couple left the dating site and communicated over the phone.
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However, to bring him back to the UK legally he would have to pay the duty – asking £470 for a customs certificate from Israel.
Susan said: ‘He kept making excuses. They were quite convincing. He said it would just be a loan, and I swallowed it and believed it. I went with my heart instead of my head.
Perry then sent Susan a receipt that appeared to be from Israeli customs, which she said proved the case was legitimate.
In total, Susan had sent £1,400 to the person she thought she had a relationship with.
However, the bond between the two quickly fell apart when presenter Ashley-John Baptise spoke to DCI Gary Miles, economic crime specialist with the Met Police.
The officer was able to determine that the customs papers were fake, as the names did not match and spelling mistakes were included.
The photo of the man believed to be holding Susan’s book had been digitally altered, and a reverse image search also showed that the photos used by the man claiming to be ‘Perry Powell’ were actually those of an innocent man called Fred, based in Holland.
Confronted with these details, Susan said, “I feel quite sad about the whole thing. I feel stupid, like I made an idiot out of myself.
But the show’s presenters were keen to dig deeper into the matter, calling the scammer first by posing as Susan, then looking for answers.
Presenter Kym Marsh said: “You are taped to be shown on the BBC. We believe Perry Powell is a fake identity you created as part of a scam.
The scammer quickly refuted this, saying, “It’s all lies. It’s absurd. How can she say that? I don’t see any truth in that.
He followed by hanging up the phone.
Susan, although upset, seemed determined to put the whole saga behind her.
She added: “Although I was quite shocked, he looked like a totally different person than the one I had built up an image of. I just feel like he’s walked out of my life now, and I’m happy. .”
For Love or Money continues on BBC One weekdays at 10am.