A PENSIONER defied a death threat to blow the lid off a global fraud after sending £180 to a woman who posted a glamour snap to his Ilkeston home.
Keith Taylor, 75, said he is determined to warn others after helping the woman meet the cost of her journey to Ilkeston. She never arrived.
Since questioning the woman’s non-appearance, he received phone calls from men and claimed: “They said if I pursue it, they will murder me and sort me out.
“I have been looking into matters in Ghana and there is a mafia there. I don’t want anyone else to get involved but I am not scared.
“One thing I don’t like is being cheated.”
He had been swapping letters with a woman who gave her name as Nana Aricott, who claims to be 35 with a 17-year-old daughter awaiting surgery.
Initially, these letters came from an address in the German city of Hamburg and included a glamorous photo of a woman claimed to be Nana.
She asked for £300 to pay for a flight to the East Midlands Airport but Mr Taylor declined after discovering tickets could be as cheap as £27.
Later she told him she had returned to Ghana and planned to join him shortly - but needed £900 for a shipping fee to bring her gold jewellery. He refused and she then asked for £300 to cover the flight.
Mr Taylor again said no and she later responded by saying she had been given £120. He sent out £180 to make up the shortfall.
He said: “She told me she is a qualified hairdresser and assures me the photo she sent is of her. I asked her what age she was when it was taken and she said recently.
“I think she is genuine but that these men are using her and I have told her that,” added Mr Taylor, a former market gardener. The woman got his name from a British dating magazine.
In one letter, she writes, ‘Dear my love, thanks once again for being so lovely, loveable and kind man to me.
“I will get all the necessary document to help me travel with my gold jewellery. When I sell it, I will get plenty of money so we can support each other’.
That letter carried a box number in the Ghanaian town of Nsawam, which has a population of 32,000, around the same as Ilkeston.
The Home Office passed the details of the case to the National Fraud Agency. It says UK residents lose £3.6billion annually to ‘mass market fraud, including romance fraud’.
A spokesman said tricksters soon start using endearing terms and send pictures which suggests ‘the new love of your life looks like a supermodel.’
He said victims should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040: “People should break off all contact immediately and do not send any more money.
“To protect yourself against dating fraud people should trust their instincts. If you think something feels wrong, it probably is.
“People should guard their privacy. They should never send money, give credit card or online account details to anyone they don’t know and trust.”
Jamey Johnson, head of Action Fraud, said: “Anyone who has been a victim of fraud or who has a friend or relative they think could be a victim should contact Action Fraud to report and get advice.”