Brian had promised Elspet a bright future – a wonderful marriage later in life and their own bungalow.
But Brian was not real. He was a romance scammer, something Elspet did not realise until she had sent him £10,000.
They had met on a dating website, she had been taken in over email, and the money – including life savings – is now in his hands and lost to her.
Elspet had been convinced by his story of serving abroad in the military. She trusted him enough to believe that his friend, a diplomat, was bringing home his belongings but needed money for fares and courier fees. It was a lie.
“You feel shame. You feel stupid and depressed,” said Elspet, aged 67.
Now she works as a scam marshal, listening to victims and warning people in her community centre about the danger of this kind of fraud.
“I tell people they should report it, not be afraid to talk to family and friends. They do not need to be alone in this,” she said.