A vulnerable woman has spoken about how she lost £500,000 of her savings to scammers online.
Appearing on This Morning, talking to hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, widow Anne Larkin told of how she gave money away to strangers after losing her husband of 34 years. She turned to social media for comfort in search of companionship but was met by fraudsters instead.
The grieving wife lost her husband Graham, 55, in November 2019 following a short illness. She went on to receive a sizeable death-on-service pay out following his death because he was several years away from retirement. In total, Anne received £1.2million in total.
READ MORE:This Morning’s Dermot shut down by Alison after ‘childish’ behaviour
She went on to explain how she got talking to two men – one who she believed to be a struggling soldier posted in Yemen and another who said they were an actor involved in charity work in the US. She admitted that she thought the actor was Gerard Butler.
The fraud soldier began telling her about how he had lost his wife and daughter in a terrible car accident five years before. In return, Anne opened up about her own loss of her husband as she thought she was forming a connection.
Anne was persuaded to send the men increasingly large amounts of money to help them with their personal difficulties and charity work. The largest amount she admitted to sending in one go was £20,000.
She said: “There’s nothing anyone out there can say any nasty bad words about me that I haven’t said about myself.” She added: “I was stupid, I was all these bad things. But you need to think about how you would feel if you were going through what I was going through.”
The bank ultimately helped her get a small portion of the money that she lost back. She explained that they said they had a duty of care towards her.
Fans on Twitter seemed concerned for the safety of the ITV show guest as they were aware that she had more money left and may have made herself a target for future scams. To said: “A very naïve lady, I think this TV interview is going to put her at risk of more scams #ThisMorning”
Chu said: “I understand she was vulnerable etc and that’s why she was a scammers dream target. #ThisMorning” Shrimpsy said: “Tbh, we’ve all done stupid things but grief is a weird thing and you do do crazy stuff and look for comfort wherever you can #ThisMorning.”
Another user said: “‘I only get my news from Facebook.’ This is the danger. This is why you lost £500k thinking you were talking to Gerard Butler over Facebook. These are getting more ridiculous. Why on earth would you hand over that sum of money to anyone? Get off Facebook!”
Receive newsletters with the biggest and breaking TV and showbiz news by signing up here