A Nottinghamshire woman who was nearly conned out of £20,500 through romance fraud has praised the process that intervened.
The victim was contacted online by a man claiming to be a doctor doing emergency work for the United Nations in Syria.
They had been communicating for around six months, and after a short while he started requesting money claiming that he needed her help to go home to his children.
He assured her that he would “come to England to be with her” when he could.
He initially requested £3,000 which the victim sent to an account in the UK, and on Monday, February 4 2019, he asked for £17,500 to be sent to Ghana.
The victim was about to oblige when she went into her bank branch, but the staff immediately spotted something suspicious and contacted Nottinghamshire Police.
As part of the banking protocol, it was fast tracked through to the fraud team who were able to instantly pick it up and speak with the woman.
She now recognises that it was a fraud and has blocked all communications.
She said: “It’s easy for people to wonder how I could have been conned in this way, but the lengths these people go to to convince you makes it all seem so real.
“I’d built up a relationship with him for six months and had no reason not to believe him.
“I’m much more aware now and off course it all adds up retrospectively. I will be much more sceptical when it comes to anything like this in the future.
“I can only praise the banking protocol and the way the agencies worked together to prevent me losing any more money.
“Although it was a shock, staff at the bank and the officers treated me with the utmost respect and I’m grateful that they intervened.”
The banking protocol, which was established in Nottinghamshire in May 2017, has prevented almost £480,000 in fraud so far in the county.