A worldwide hunt is underway for an alleged conwoman who police say set up a series of fake internet dating profiles to scam a victim out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The woman is said to have fleeced a 43-year-old man from Manchester out of nearly £200,000 after claiming that she lived in the Bahamas and worked in South Africa.
Police say the brunette – who uses the aliases Christy Dunn, Martha Cameron and Miranda Stinson – met her victim on match.com and carried out an online relationship via Skype and messaging apps for a year.
She apparently convinced the man to hand over the huge sums of money for an art exhibition, to have some of her work framed, for import duty at an airport and for her food and hotel.
The man also claimed to have given her money while she was in a hospital in Nassau, which he later said did not exist.
Avon and Somerset Police have now launched an appeal for information about the women, who they believe could be part of an organised crime syndicate operating across the UK.
Officers admit they currently have no idea about the woman’s true identity or how old she is.
The woman claimed to be from Teddington, London, and opened other accounts saying she was from Milton Keynes, Kingswinford, London and Loughton – but she is believed to have links in Botswana and the Bahamas.
Detective constable Simon Da Costa said: “Within ten months of them meeting online, the offender made multiple requests to the victim for money.
“The victim was manipulated into giving this money firstly by the promise of a relationship, then emotional blackmail and the promise of the return of his money, and finally by threats.
“Some of this money was paid into accounts with links to Bristol.
“We believe this scam is likely to be part of a wider criminal operation targeting lonely and vulnerable people online.”
“We really need to find this woman, so if you have information about where she may be, or if you have also been a victim, please call us.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting the reference number 12939114.
Top pic: SWNS