Alison Peters’ story on how she was scammed out of thousands of pounds by and online fraudster appeared in Take A Break this week…
She uploaded a picture and filled in her bio and received messages almost instantly, but one stuck out for Alison. Steve Myers was an engineer, working in the oil industry, and from his profile he sounded very intelligent.
Steve explained that he was a widower of 13 years and the both his parents were dead. He also, said that he earned £100,000 a year and travelled a lot with work with houses in England and America.
Over the next five weeks Alison began pouring her heart out to Steve, phoning and texting each other whenever they could – he even told her that she ‘is someone I could marry’. So they agreed to meet up.
But a few days later Steve phoned and said that he’d been called away on business and that his company “has bid for a $5.2m contract in Malaysia” and that he was already at the airport. Steve asked if Alison could top up his phone credit because he’d be unable to do it while away – so she added £50 to his phone.
They emailed regularly over the next three weeks but on the day before Steve was due to return home another man rang Alison’s phone saying that “there had been an explosion on site” and that “Steve’s had to cancel his flight home”.
A few days later Steve rang sounding distraught and explained that he needed to replace some equipment damaged in the explosion but he hadn’t enough money for it – He said that if Alison lent him £12,000 he’d give her a big share of the $5.2m contract. Alison told him it sounded like a scam and he sounded immediately offended, “How can you say that when you’re the woman I want to be in a relationship with?”
She thought about it for a few days and persuaded herself to part with the money.
A few days later he called and said that the money had been used to pay people’s wages and so Alison sent him her last £7000.
But that wasn’t the end of it – Steve needed more money to pay off an employee’s medical bills and as she knew Steve wouldn’t be coming hom until everything was sorted out, Alison took out two bank loans totalling £30,000.
Steve told Alison that he would put the whole $5.2m in my account so she could take what she was owed – she thought her money was safe.
A few days later Alison spoke to David to discuss selling the house and they began to talk about old times, making Alison realise that Steve was not right for her and that she wanted to give her marriage another go. Alison informed Steve that their relationship was strictly business from that point and although he sounded upset, he understood.
The house was then sold and Alison bought a caravan until she could afford another property. However a phone call from Steve tugged at Alison’s heart strings – he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer and needed money to pay for treatment. Alison was so upset so sent him £70,000 from her share of the house – knowing she’d get it back.
An email telling Alison that $5.2m was waiting to go into her account arrived only she had to pay £10,000 for a special certificate before the money could be released – as she had no money she had to go to David who believed it to be a scam. Although after showing him the emails, he wired over the £10,000 and they waited for the money to come in.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. David was angry, “I told you it was a scam,” he said.
Alison went to the police and was told that it was not likely that she’d see any of her money again – which was when it really sank in.
Alison is now still living in her tiny caravan, £17,000 in debt and struggling to pay back her loans. Alison says, “I constantly ask myself, ‘how could I have been so stupid?’ I thought I was an intelligent woman and I can’t believe I fell for Steve’s lies.”
The one positive is that David and Alison are back together and both now working on their relationship despite all of their previous mistakes.
We are also pleased that although we haven’t been able to get Alison’s £120K back (even by selling her story…!) she has got her story out there. She says: “I just hope my story will warn other people just how easy it is to get scammed by someone online.”
Have you been conned by an online scammer? Let us know HERE