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I am writing to inform you of seemingly novel scam that I have recently fallen victim to. The scam occurred entirely face to face and through calls/text messages.
Meetings almost all happened on the Highfield campus of the University of Southampton.
I was approached on the street in July (3rd or 4th) by a woman claiming to be a victim of domestic abuse and to have just moved to Southampton to escape her ex-partner. She showed me a triangular shaoed scar on the left side of her nose as evidence of her abuse. She gave for her supposed first name “Clair” and her supposed home address, withheld due to data protection act, Southampton as well as her phone number, the phone number she gave at the time was withheld due to data protection act. She wanted to borrow money for food for herself and her children and promised to pay it back the following week when she received money from benefits. I lent her £90 over a period of a few weeks. She always gave reasons that invoked compassion (sons in hospital, being sick, phone’s out of credit) as reasons she coudn’t pay back. She asked to borrow another £90 to pay rent or else she would face eviction. At, that point I doubted her ability to pay back so I turned her down.
On September 17th, I met her randomly (from my POV) on the street and she told me the reason she couldn’t pay me back was that she lost her phone with my number and so couldn’t call me to repay. She gave me a new number withheld due to data protection act She then said that she found a job and got paid for it but that right before I met her, she lost her bank card and asked to borrow more money until her new card arrived. Over, the following week, she asked for more money, telling me her ex-partner found out where where she lived so she needed to escape to a BnB outside of town until he was arrested. Then on the Friday (22nd) she gave me her new bank card (that I later realized was fake) and told me to keep it until her PIN number arrived.
At that point I thought I was safe as she would be essentially borrowing mony from the card. She had a “neighbour” to vouch for her who told me he lent her money before and got it back. She then asked me to pay off the bailiff that was knocking down her door because of some sort of bill to pay for her ex-partner’s arrest. Then it was to repair her front door because I friend knocked it down because her bag containing her keys were stolen. Her neighbour told me that if she couldn’t pay back, he would pay himself. Instead, he scammed more money from me on Monday and Tuesday (25th and 26th) when he told me his boss for a one time job payed him by banker’s draft and had too much on the check and needed the difference. He gave a laptop as a security which I afterwards realized was old and didn’t work. The neighbour’s number is withheld due to data protection act. He is a tall black man in his thirties (claims to be 40).
In the end I lost around £2200 to this scam.
I called the police on Wednesday immediately after realizing it was a scam. They were not interested and called it a civil matter. I’ve also filed a report to Action Fraud.
On Wednesday evening, I met with her again but did not lend anymore money this time. I got a friend to secretly play a video as he was passing by. I have extracted her picture from that video, the scar isn’t visible on her nose as it’s on the other side.
A week later, the guy contacted me, using the number withheld due to data protection actpresumably to scam more money out of me. I gave him my account number and sort code but no money arrived.
Just two weeks ago, I crossed the woman again. She shouted at me screaming “Where’s my bank card?”. I called her a scammer and threatened to a picture of her. She walked off angrily.
At the end of the scam I felt so stupid. I felt and still feel extremely angry and slightly ashamed with myself. However, I know it wasn’t my fault. By the time arrived the “obvious” elements, I was already knee-deep. The scam was in a very different format from how I expected a scam to be.
This scammer uses people’s compassion to make them part with their money. She is unrelenting and is able to fake emotions that are incredibly intense.
The closest things to proof that I can provide are text messages and a bank statement showing withdrawals.
Forgot to add,
At some point, the female scammer gave me her “real” name of Laura Judd.
Thanks and Kind Regards,
withheld due to data protection act