A King’s Lynn man, who has lost thousands of pounds in an online dating scam, is holding a fundraising dance evening for Victim Support.
David Hazel said the organisation had been his ‘life-line’ after he suffered both emotionally and financially as a result of the scam.
Mr Hazel does not expect to get a penny back of the estimated £10,000 to £15,000 he spent trying to get what he thought was a former friend from her home in Ghana to King’s Lynn.
He sent money via telegram to the woman, her relatives and her lawyer but, it turned out it was all part of an elaborate £7 million con.
Mr Hazel, 54, said the culprits had preyed on the lonely and vulnerable and he didn’t want others to fall into the same trap.
As well as the dance, Mr Hazel would like to organise an open meeting
He said: “I don’t know when and where but I would like to have a meeting to talk about awareness and get the local police down then I can explain what happened to me. I just want to make people aware.”
Mr Hazel got caught up in the scam about a year-and-a-half ago.
He responded to a website which he thought had a genuine picture of a former friend from Canada, who was keen to get back in touch.
“All the details seemed genuine. I started sending her money to come over here and she said she was living in Ghana. It went on for about a year,” he explained.
Eventually, Mr Hazel was in his bank having just sent some money when one of the assistants asked him what was wrong.
He explained and, after looking into the matter, the bank told him to contact the police. He was put in touch with the fraud squad and Victim Support.
“I was even emailed a copy of the plane ticket which I thought was genuine,” said Mr Hazel, who also spoke on the phone to the tricksters.
“I won’t get my money back and it has put me in a difficult financial situation.
“I got really down and if it hadn’t been for Victim Support, I don’t think I would have been here,” he said.
Mr Hazel has finally found the courage to move on but his message to people is to be very careful, especially if money is requested.
Mr Hazel’s fundraising dance evening is on March 28 at 7.30pm at Gaywood Church Rooms in Gaywood.
Tickets are £5 and Mr Hazel would like to hear from anyone able to help him sell tickets. He can be contacted on 01553 676992.
Dancing on the night is ballroom, modern jive and modern and includes a disco and live band.
Victim Support is celebrating 40 years of serving the community this year.
The charity works from the Magistrates’ Court in Lynn and relies wholly on a team of volunteer case workers.
Anita Pluckwell, service delivery manager, said: “Victim Support gives information, practical help, advocacy and emotional support to people who have experienced a crime and to their families and friends regardless of when the crime was committed and whether or not it has been reported to the police.
“If you would like to talk to someone in confidence please call 0845 456 5995.”
The scam involving Mr Hazel is still being investigated.