‘Brainwashed’ OAP lost £20,000 to romance scammer before dying with £120 to her name | #ukscams | #datingscams | #european

A vulnerable pensioner was “brainwashed” by scammers who convinced her she was to marry one of them and fleeced her of £20,000 – before she died with just £120 in the bank.

Tragic Elaine Chamberlain was so convinced by the crooks that she had even bought a wedding dress and rings in the run-up to her death aged 76.

Just hours after Elaine passed away last month, one of the scammers video-called her mobile phone seeking yet more money but was intercepted by her son Richard Chamberlain.

The 53-year-old says he answered and, after being asked where Elaine was, told the man on the other end, “she’s dead, you killed her”.

He added that they “ruined” his mum’s life and “stole her dignity” by stripping her of her finances and destroying her personal relationships.

Richard Chamberlain holding a picture of his beloved mother, Elaine


Matthew Lofthouse / SWNS)

Richard, a retail manager from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said: “These people were in her head.

“They knew what they were doing, they made her feel special, they made her feel wanted and good about herself.

“It didn’t matter what anyone said to her.”

Richard said his mum, who had arthritis, started “deteriorating” following the death of her partner of 31 years, Danny, in 2013.

He added: “When he died mum was lost, he was the love of her life.”

Richard said the first sign of trouble came in 2019 when Elaine said she had met a man online but became “vague” when asked about him.

He added: “I knew scammers were about so I said to her, ‘you’re sending him money are you?’ and she said that she wasn’t.”

Elaine, a former dinner lady from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, was led to believe the person she was talking to was a white man in his 60s, working abroad as a diver on a ship.

A screenshot of a message sent to Elaine from the scammers thanking her for money she had sent


Matthew Lofthouse / SWNS)

However, Richard carried out online research and established the image being shown to Elaine had in fact been taken from a Welsh man’s Facebook profile.

His worries were confirmed a short time later when Elaine, a grandmother-of-one, answered her phone on loudspeaker and Richard heard a young man’s voice on the other end.

He said: “You could tell from the voice that it wasn’t the man in the picture.

“I told mum, ‘you’re being scammed’, but she would just say, ‘no I’m not, no I’m not’.”

Richard believes Elaine became aware the man she was talking to was not who was in the picture and instead was a young man.

However, he said it “did not matter to her”.

In early 2020, the Post Office where Elaine deposited the cash contacted South Yorkshire Police about unusual activity from her account and officers went to see her.

According to Richard, they told her that what she was doing was wrong and advised her to stop, while he notified social services and his mum’s bank.

However, she got around the obstacles he had set by visiting money exchange centres instead of Post Offices and transferred the money that way, he said.

Richard recalled the conversation he had with his mother when he found out what was happening.

“I said, ‘what the hell are you doing mum?’ and she said, ‘it’s to help his sick son’,” he said. “I told her it had to stop.”

Richard says his mother’s life was ‘ruined’ by the scammers and is speaking out to warn others


Matthew Lofthouse / SWNS)

Within weeks Richard had found receipts showing his mum had been asked to send money to UK addresses in Leeds and London.

He claims to have informed the police and urged them to investigate, but says he was told his mum had chosen to send the money, so there was nothing they could do.

South Yorkshire Police said that Elaine “did not support further police action” so the case was closed.

Richard added: “The whole situation with my mum was having an effect on my relationships, I’d hit rock bottom with it.

“I was doing everything I could to stop what was happening but it felt like I was just banging my head against a brick wall.”

Richard tried to get things under control by taking hold of her financial affairs, however, he went on holiday and returned to find she had reversed everything.

He said: “By that point, my mum was brainwashed.”

He said he had to remove himself from the situation for mental health reasons and that he didn’t speak to his mum for a few months.

When they got back in touch at the end of 2020, things had deteriorated.

“Mum was in really poor health and the house was in a terrible state,” said Richard.

“All she was interested in was this man, she was constantly online talking to him.

“I was looking at my mum and it was like looking at a blank page, all these people had to do was click their fingers and she would do anything.”

He added: “I saw her account and there was another £5,000 missing but she denied still talking to him.

“It hurt to be constantly lied to.”

Elaine in happier times


Matthew Lofthouse / SWNS)

Richard said he went to see his mum days before she died in May this year and that she looked in terrible health.

He added: “She didn’t have a tea or coffee in three hours and she’d normally have one every 20 minutes.

“I could tell she wasn’t taking her tablets or drinking and said that I would get in touch with the doctor.”

Just two days later Richard received news that his mum had been rushed to hospital with cellulitis, and within hours that she had died from multiple organ failure.

He said: “We went to the hospital to see her and when we walked in her phone was ringing on FaceTime.

“I answered and it was a black man in his 30s asking for Elaine, I said ‘she’s dead, you killed her’, and put the phone down.”

Richard then discovered his mum died with only £120 to her name.

And he later found a wedding dress and two rings in her bedroom. She had sent pictures of herself wearing the dress to the scammers.

Richard said: “I think my mum knew that the game was up and gave in. She instigated her own death in my opinion.”

He added: “I want to speak out about what happened to my mum to try and prevent the same thing from happening to anyone else.

“These scammers are so horrible and nasty, they ruin people’s lives, they ruined my mum’s life.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “Romance fraud is a devastating crime which has a profound impact on not only victims but their families too. The effects are not only financial, but can also massively impact people’s mental wellbeing.

“This is a heartbreaking case where our officers made enquiries in to third-party allegations received regarding romance fraud. However, the victim did not support further police action and therefore, the case had to be closed.

“If you think you’re a victim of romance fraud, it’s important to speak out. Please don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed – these cruel fraudsters are professionals and can be extremely convincing. Report your concerns to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting actionfraud.police.uk.”

Read More

Read More

Click Here For The Original Source.

. . . . . . .