The victim, who would prefer to be known as Sarah, struck up a relationship with a man named Mac on the online messaging app Telegram. Mac claimed to be in the US military, stationed in Afghanistan. He said he was a single parent, and that his wife had died when his son was just three years old.
Sarah and Mac spoke for months, during which time Sarah bonded with the character of the man she thought she was speaking with. He claimed to want to leave the military and to want to provide a better life for his son.
To do so, he asked Sarah for financial help so that he could leave and come to live in the UK with his son. He promised to repay the money borrowed.
It was only after Sarah made the payments and when Mac failed to arrive in the UK that she realised he had been using her for her money.
After realising that their relationship had been one long con, Sarah first reached out to her bank for assistance, hoping that they would be able to help, informing them that she had been the victim of a military romance scam. After her bank refused to help, she reached out to CEL Solicitors.
She said: “I tried to get my money back from the bank, but they refused to give me a refund. I then plucked up the courage to call CEL Solicitors who put me at ease and made me realise just how many people get scammed every day.”
Victims of romance fraudsters are often the most hesitant to come forward because of the personal nature of the scam. Commenting on how difficult it can be to seek help Sarah said: “I was hesitant to get in touch because of the way I was scammed. I was embarrassed and felt ashamed about what had happened.
It wasn’t until the dedicated CEL fraud and scam team issued a financial complaint that Sarah was able to get her money back, plus interest. “They got my money back. They do what they say, so forget about being embarrassed about what you’ve done. Some people are too proud to ask for help but don’t be. They don’t judge and will support you. I’ve finally got my life back” added Sarah.
At CEL Solicitors, we work on a no-win, no-fee basis. We never ask for money upfront and warn victims to be wary of companies that do. Chloe Roche, a fraud team leader at CEL Solicitors, said: “A lot of scammers often retarget their victims posing as professional advisers so it’s always important to check the credentials of anyone offering to help you get your money back from a scam.”
“We fight to get your money back plus interest and compensation, which covers part, or in higher-value cases, all of our fee. We never ask for payment upfront. In fact, any money is paid directly to you, after which we ask for our success fee. We offer free initial no-obligation advice so there really is nothing to lose” added Chloe.