Paul Hampson, CEL Solicitors’ CEO, joined former client “Helen” for a BBC Scotland interview on David Wilson’s Crime Files. The segment featured on episode 2 of the “Scams and Scandals” series, entitled Romance Scams. It examined the widespread nature of catfish scams, the astronomical level of money lost to fraudsters, and the devastating effect these crimes continue to have on victims.
CEL Solicitors handles thousands of fraud cases every week, helping those who have lost money gain compensation from the system that has failed to protect them. Asked about the scale of fraud in the UK, Paul Hampson said:
“Pre-2020 we used to get about 50 enquiries a month from people who had been affected by fraud, online scams and that type of activity. At the minute, we’re getting 3,000 enquiries a month.
“You’ll get clients who lose their whole life savings, and the value of cases we get is anything from a few thousand pounds up to millions of pounds.”
Helen (whose name has been changed to protect her anonymity) was a previous client of CEL Solicitors. She was targeted by a scammer on an online dating site in what is better known as a catfishing or romance scam.
“It had a huge impact. I lost all the money I had. I re-mortgaged my home to try and get money together to send to the chap. I had no money left, I had absolutely nothing left, and I had to borrow money from family and friends to get through.
“This all happened just before Christmas-time so that was an added thing on top of trying to make ends meet.”
The full interview, including how CEL Solicitors were able to recover £120,000 in compensation for Helen, can be watched on BBC iPlayer. The segment containing Paul and Helen starts at 05:53.
You can also read more about Helen in this case study.