‘I don’t think I’ll ever be right again’: Somerset woman claims she was ‘romance scammed’ out of thousands | #lovescams | #military | #datingscams

A Yeovil woman has spoken for the first time about how she was ‘romance scammed’ by a man allegedly posing as an Armed Forces soldier from the US who subjected her to a campaign of abuse.

Instances of romance fraud, which involves scamming a person out of money by pretending to want a relationship, reportedly rose during lockdown.

£68million was lost to such scams in 2020 according to Action Fraud, with the average loss per victim reported to UK Finance at £7,850.

Read more: ‘He screamed at me from his car’: Street harassment in a Somerset town

The Yeovil resident says she has been left thousands of pounds in debt and without a job after she left her previous position amid repeated assurances that they would be imminently moving to the US together.

Lisa Lailey had recently separated from her previous partner, with whom she has two children, when she first met the man she now says romance scammed her out of around £40,000.

The man, who will be referred to as John Doe for the purposes of this article, allegedly told Ms Lailey he was in the process of getting a divorce when he first met her in 2015.

In what she described as “the first part of the fraud”, Ms Lailey, who is a capable painter, initially agreed to do a series of military aircraft canvases for Mr Doe, after he told her his colleagues would pay handsomely for such artwork.

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