Iris Jones, a British pensioner, is receiving death threats as she fights against fraudsters who target older women like her.

The “Liverpool Echo” reports on the British pensioner Iris Jones from Somerset. After her relationship with the Egyptian Mohamed Ibrahim, who is 47 years younger than her, ended, she wants to spare other pensioners the same fate. She has made it her mission to expose other romance scammers and will pay for it with her life.

The pensioner describes the scammers’ schemes to the “Liverpool Echo”. The men would specifically approach older women on dating platforms or on Facebook. She suspects there is a system behind it, as the scammers would contact her “like an assembly line”. They are only interested in money: “They don’t think about you as a person, you are just a name to them,” Jones told the newspaper.

A more common trick is to claim to be a member of an army or an oil company. The scammers then often send pictures of soldiers and oil workers. “These pictures are not them – they are pictures of real men, and I think some of them know they are being used,” the pensioner says indignantly.

In the “Liverpool Echo,” Jones names a number of suspicious messages that pensioners should be suspicious of. Most of the time, the romance scammers want to communicate on WhatsApp after a short time because it is more private. “That’s a red flag,” warns Jones.

Once they had built up trust in this way, it didn’t take long for the scammers to ask for money. They were often instructed to keep the transfer “secret” and not to process it through a bank. To convince the victims, Jones describes another popular strategy: so-called “love bombing”. The pensioners are showered with declarations of love.

Jones tells of a particularly brazen case. A man pretended to be a member of the American Air Force in Yemen. Jones tells the newspaper that she was able to unmask him quickly: “His messages didn’t sound American.” The pensioner was quite sure when the man asked her to send him money.

Jones reports how she went along with it for fun, to provoke the scammer. When she finally confronted the love scammer, the man showed his true face. Jones remembers the shocking chat messages: “I’m going to bombard you. This time not with love bombing, but with a real bomb.”

In Germany, too, there are repeated cases in which people are duped by romance scammers. As recently as March 2024, a woman transferred 160,000 euros to a man who claimed to be a successful businessman. Here, too, exuberant declarations of love preceded the payment.

The police warn urgently against such scams and call the love scam “the modern form of marriage fraud”. In most cases, the perpetrators operate from abroad and take advantage of the victims’ shame. Many do not file a criminal complaint, which is why it is assumed that there is a high number of unreported cases.

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