After running articles on online dating scams and how criminals prey on emotions, an overwhelming number of readers came forward with their own tragic and sometimes costly experiences.
News24 share some of them here.
So-called artist cons au pair of R120 000
The 55-year-old Alberton au pair was going through an emotional time in her life when she believed she had met her match on a well-known dating site.
They chatted on Facebook for around seven months and he claimed to be an artist from London with two kids.
He claimed he was going to have an exhibition in Cape Town but would first be in Port Elizabeth where his container of art was, even sending her confirmation of his flight tickets. She came to Cape Town to meet him.
“My total loss was R120 000, where he said he was robbed and required the funds to release the container. After that there was no more contact from his side.”
She reported it to the Table View police station on April 28 but the scammer had not been caught.
“The money is one thing but the biggest damage was the emotional impact and damage that was caused; his voice is still haunting me and the religious prayers we did on a daily basis”.
Pretoria PA under administration after losing R300 000
A 52-year-old PA/secretary said she parted with R300 000 a while back after thinking she was paying for medical equipment to help supposedly ill people she had met on a popular dating site. They claimed they were from the US and UK.
She handed over information to police but felt their progress was too slow.
She also alerted the major banks but believed locals were working with scammers in exchange for a cut of the money.
“I have to put myself under administration this week because of this. I don’t even have money to put food on the table.”
‘Christian’ mom scared to date
A 39-year-old divorced mom with a son remains single and is too scared to look for love online after a scammer targeted her on a Christian dating site.
The Limpopo admin clerk, who works in the security services field, thought she had met a very charming man online.
He claimed he was divorced, wanted kids and a devoted Christian living in Scotland. She became suspicious because his spelling was poor but sought the companionship.
After just a week, he wanted to visit her. Unluckily for him, he got his own life story confused and she asked him to stop contact. He reacted aggressively in his messages but eventually left her alone.
“I have my son to think about and therefore hope to meet someone special the old-fashioned way.”
Preacher man defrauds KZN woman of around R170 000
A man claiming to be an American preacher managed to extract around R170 000 from a Kwazulu-Natal woman before she realised he was not who he claimed to be.
He targeted her at a time when she was extremely vulnerable and weaved a complicated, believable story to draw her in.
The outgoing, high-achiever had been extremely lonely and decided to pay a membership fee for an online dating site last year.
She was drawn to the preacher because his wife had apparently been killed in a car accident a few years before and had not dated since. She was soon deeply in love and had never experienced such happiness.
She continued paying money over for his emergencies despite her family and friends warning her it was a scam. Since then, she has been waiting for the police to move forward with her case.
She struggles with poor health and is paying off her debt slowly.
“By now, many people are judging me. It’s okay. You have a right to your opinions. Yes, I was very stupid and believe me, nobody is more embarrassed than me, but it all happened so quickly that before you know it, you have given and given and given.
“You are trapped in this addiction. I am still considering some professional assistance to help me move forward. As for Russell he will have his time to answer to God.
“He continues to do things in the name of God and send me bible verses to read etc. If he has scammed me, then he will answer. God will ensure that he is dealt with, especially if he is doing it in God’s name. That comforts me a bit.”