‘It felt like losing a husband’: the fraudsters breaking hearts – and emptying bank accounts

Romance scams robbed Britons of nearly £100m last year. Thanks to online dating and the pandemic, these cruel crimes are more sophisticated and prevalent than ever

In February 2019, Anna, a finance professional in her 50s, joined the dating website Zoosk. She had been single for four years, recovering from an incredibly difficult, abusive marriage. “I was finally ready to meet someone,” she says.

So, when she met Andrew, a handsome Bulgarian food importer living in London, she was thrilled. The pair were soon spending hours talking on the phone each day. Anna was smitten. “He showered me with love and affection,” she says. “If you imagine candy floss, I was the stick and he was the sugar wrapped around me. I felt as though I was floating.”

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