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’.Using age-old marketing techniques, Christian created a picture of their life together so real that the victim actually went house-hunting for the two of them.

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They may have larger amounts of money to lose and subsequently be more prepared to act as a cautionary tale to others, but men and women, young and old, are equally likely to succumb to romantic fraud.

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.

Judith joined a dating site last year – one which matches your values, personality and lifestyle with other members and scores them accordingly. When he got my replies, he’d come up with something similar but ever so slightly different.’'He’d say he loved me and I’d reply, “You haven’t even met me!

According to police, such fraud increased by 16 per cent in 2014-15, with recorded losses of more than £33 million.

Judith Lathlean, a 67-year-old, Oxford-educated professor, made headlines in December last year when she courageously revealed how she had paid £140,000 to a man she met on a dating site (but never met face to face).

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.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…Last year in the UK, online dating scammers conned their dates out of £33 million.Anna Moore investigates the crooks who target smart, successful women Using a fake profile on the popular dating site (they operated as ‘Christian Anderson’, a divorced engineer), the pair managed to persuade a newly divorced mother of two to sign over a staggering £1.6 million, some of it her own, the rest borrowed from family and friends.