The dating scammer is the bogeyman of the digital age and finding love in a socially distanced world

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Romance scammers are so fiendishly clever, using a degree of hypnosis and brainwashing that even in the face of warnings, people reject what they're being told in favour of the conman. Illustration photo by Getty Images
Romance scammers are so fiendishly clever, using a degree of hypnosis and brainwashing that even in the face of warnings, people reject what they're being told in favour of the conman. Illustration photo by Getty Images

It took less than three months for Jan Marshall's online lover to convince her to give him $260 000 (over R3.8 million). Or "lend" it, rather, since he was a British engineer with millions of pounds in his bank account and the (forged) statements to prove it.

He would pay her back, he said, he was just having trouble on a job site in Dubai and needed a little bit to tide him over; his taxes were due, but he couldn't access his account; he was robbed on his way to pay those taxes, so needed to borrow the same amount again.

After 72 days of contact, she never heard from him again.

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