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On the basis of just these scant facts, it seems incredible that a well-educated, successful and responsible woman would even consider handing over her life-savings to an apparent stranger – and yet chilling details from the trial hint at the sophisticated brainwashing involved.Based on the secret techniques of pick-up artists, the book contains step-by-step instructions on how to ensnare a victim, such as ‘Select a Target’, ‘Isolate the Target’, ‘Create an Emotional Connection’ and ‘Blast Last-Minute Resistance’.His messages began to refer to Felix as ‘our son’ (Sara has no children of her own). They’d speak on the phone and he called her Mum (it was her scammer using voice-morphing technology).When it was ‘Felix’s birthday’, Sara sent money for an i Phone. ‘I believed in the boy – that was my weak point,’ she says.He says he’s single, honest and looking for love – just like you, in fact.All he needs is a little money to get him through a tricky situation…And with each victim, they learn and improve their psychological technique. The scammers just need to find the right button to press.’ They will tell you they’re widowed, or divorced after their partner was unfaithful.They may have raised a child alone or lost a child.
She is now able to stand back and see just how she was manipulated. He’d ask my favourite colour, what was on my bucket list, what countries I wanted to visit.
In another case, divorcée Suzanne Hardman, then 56, was defrauded of £170,000 by ‘James Richards’, a widower living in Portsmouth.
In fact, James was a gang of Nigerian fraudsters who were later convicted.
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It could be getting you to take part in explicit exchanges or send sexual videos. If the ‘one-off deal’ you need to pay is presented as slightly illegal or shady – a mess he has got into and needs help getting out of – you will likely feel too worried to go for help.