Glam gran polices dating sites to catch scammers

A glam great gran polices online dating sites to catch scammers "preying on vulnerable rich older women" after being hounded by dozens of fraudsters.

Suzanne Parker, 71, started joining dating sites after her late husband John died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2004.

And after years of being messaged by both genuine Romeos and fraudsters she has learned how to spot the fakes almost instantly.

OAP scam catcher

Since she opened an account on Match.com in October, Suzanne said she has reported a whopping 72 fake profiles who have tried to woo her.

Her antics have earned her the nickname "Scammer Detector" among pals.

She said the fakers pose as genuine lovers and target her - because they think older woman are a soft touch - trying to win her over before asking for money.

Savvy Suzanne said her top tricks for catching swindlers include avoiding profiles which say "widowed with no children" and people who post very handsome profile pics.

She's even learned Nigerian phrases to spot foreign tricksters, and asks them about prominent landmarks in towns they claim to be living in to catch them out.

OAP scam catcher

Suzanne, from Bristol, who still works as a care assistant in a dementia home, said: "I've been doing it for years ever since my late husband died 16 years ago.

"The reason I'm on there is because at my age it is difficult if not almost impossible to meet someone unless you go to pubs, clubs or go dancing.

"Don't get me wrong I'm not on there to be pen friends or to knit their sweaters and bake them an apple crumble.

"But that's just proving really hard when there are people on their praying on lonely, vulnerable women.

"As soon as I get a hunch I play them at their own game.

"There was one man I was speaking to who told me he was a 72-year-old living on an oil rig and needed me to send him money.

"He must have thought I was green as cabbage.

"I went on to ask him how he ate if he was living on an actual oil rig and he told me a takeaway would fly in his pizzas by helicopter.

"Another one was on a so called contract in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and asked me to send £1,000 via Western Union because his debit card chip wasn't working and he was apparently stranded.

"American soldiers are aplenty on there.

"One wanted to Skype me and when I did, mysteriously his microphone wasn't working. I'm guessing he didn't have an American accent.

"But the most convincing one was the orthopaedic surgeon working in a field hospital in Afghanistan with trauma cases.

"He was able to delay his ward rounds at night until 10 pm just so could speak to me.

"When I said I doubted him he produced a fake identity card which he said he uses in
Britain as he lives in Salcombe.

"I even got to the stage of buying train tickets to visit him when he was due home on
leave – this is when I suddenly realised how very easy it is to get sucked into their
lies and deceit.

"Seeing as I'm dating site wise now I play little games with them.

"I ask a little about the area they live in and try to discuss prominent landmarks with them but they usually give me the briefest of answers - because they're 1000's of miles away.

"Recently I was messaging a fake in Bath and I suggested we meet at Radcliffe Camera knowing full well it was a building in Oxford. He immediately turned round and said it was a splendid idea!

"When I get a feeling it's a scammer from Nigeria I write back with "No Wahala" which means no problems. I learnt it from one of my friends from Nigeria.

"Now to anyone else if they would just think I've come up with a saying.

"But I'm playing them at their own game and just want to see what they say back.

"They immediately clock it's Nigerian and query why I'm using a Nigerian saying.

"I used to be on Plenty of Fish but they should rename them Plenty of Freaks.

"They'd always been indecent remarks about pictures but I suppose that's what you get when it's free to sign up.

"A professional looking photo of a drop dead gorgeous man with a brilliant smile or serious sexy look is a warning sign truth be told."

OAP scam catcher

Suzanne joined dating sites 15 years ago after her husband died and has tried out Plenty of Fish, Over Time and Match.com

She admits she has been emotionally scammed - taken in by someone who turns out to be using a fake identity - about six times in 14 years.

The former hospital voluntary service manager who has four grandchildren and
three great grandchildren has never handed over any money.

But she has been asked to hand over cash.

Drawing on her own experiences, she has shared the extraordinary lengths scammers will go to when fabricating a story to convince her to hand over cash.

She is now warning other elderly women of the warning signs of spotting a potential scammer.

She urged them to remain cynical of profiles with "too handsome a profile picture" and if they are listed as "widowed with no children" as it "screams scanner".

She said: "People always say 'how can someone fall for that, they must be stupid' but when you are lonely, widowed and vulnerable it is so easy in a short space of time to feel attachment to a complete stranger.

"To have some special back in your life who is beginning to show you kindness and give you compliments.

"I've probably been scammed about six times over the past 14 years. But I haven't handed any money over.

"But the emotional scamming really is heartbreaking. I had conversations for either a few days or a couple of weeks and you really do get sucked in.

"Another thing to look out for is the phraseology.

"Often the grammar becomes quite poor after the initial few sentences and this is a giveaway. The phrases seem foreign.

"If they say 'Wow' and 'My woman' this usually indicates a message from someone of African culture.

"Sometimes you may be asked the same thing twice in reasonably quick succession.

"This may mean that you have been passed to another person who will now continue the contact.

"Perhaps the other one has gone home or even for his lunch break.

"I just want to share my handy hints because I find it absolutely disgusting and upsetting that there are so many unscrupulous fakes on these sites and nothing is really being done about it.

"It's just not right."

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