‘I lost £10,000 to evil scammer who posed as Outlander hunk’ | Personal Finance | Finance

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A gran lost £10,000 to an Instagram cryptocurrency scammer – who posed as Outlander actor Sam Heughan. Superfan Mary Ryland, 72, even sold her engagement ring to fund the con – and has been left devastated.

The crook posed as actor Sam and sent her a message – and the pair began communicating back and forth.

They even sent skeptical Mary a photo of a fake passport to convince her he was the real deal.

And after months of messaging back and forth, retired florist Mary was convinced to deposit money into a cryptocurrency account.

The fraudster sent her fake graphs which said her investment was growing, encouraging her to deposit a total of £10,000 – £5,000 of which she was convinced by the scammers that she needed to send to ‘withdraw the money’.

She eventually realised she was being scammed after reading about another woman who had fallen victim to a similar scam

But she hasn’t been able to recover any of her cash. Mary, originally from Preston Lancashire but now living in Cornwall, said: “It fooled me terribly. It was horrible.

“I really thought it was Sam. The scammer even sent me a passport with a name, date and it really fooled me. I think I’m a bit of a sucker for a sob story and celebrity impersonators.

“I don’t want it to happen to others – it must be stopped. Instagram should know that a lot of people that post on those sites are scammers. Before you realise they’ve sucked you in quite badly.”

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Mary said she started using Instagram to simply “talk to people” because she lives with her disabled husband who “doesn’t talk much”.

She often posts comments on an Outlander fan page and thinks this is where the scammer spotted her, in January 2023.

She then spent the next few months talking to the scammer and mentioned how she’d like a new car and home.

Mary was then encouraged by the scammer to invest in a cryptocurrency in March 2023.

Fooled into thinking her initial investment was growing through deceptive graphs, Mary invested a whopping £5,000 over the next two months.

She was then convinced by the scammers to send a further £5,000 to ‘activate’ the wallet – fooled into thinking this would allow her to withdraw her funds.

She said: “The actual chap who was pretending to be Sam was encouraging me over quite a long time.

“He had tried to turn it to a romantic thing at the beginning.

“I mentioned I’d like a car, a proper house and I then he said I should start investing money and this is where bitcoin came in.”

After the scammer knew Mary was going to invest, she was instructed by the scammer to contact someone else via WhatsApp.

She said: “I always had to notify this person before I would invest and he would walk me through the whole system.

“I couldn’t put anything lower than a £1,000 in and that was tricky as we’re both pensioners.

“But over time they started dropping the threshold down when they wanted more and more money to encourage me to keep putting in money.

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“Wherever I was investing it was going straight to the scammers.

“It had a separate bitcoin wallet every time I’d put money in and I guess it was filtered through to their account.

“It looked as if the money was growing and they would encourage me to keep investing.”

Mary eventually realised she had been scammed after reading about another woman who had been scammed and ceased all communication with the scammers.

Whilst her bank weren’t able to help – as she had been investing in sound mind – Mary is hoping she has better luck with the Financial Ombudsman.

She said: “What I really want to get across to women is to just be careful – they are so sophisticated now these scammers. If I can help somebody not go through what I’ve been through then I’ve done my job.

“I just thought it’s about time all this was stopped. There must be lots of other ladies in a similar situation.

“I’m a pensioner so we don’t want to be giving our hard earn pennies to someone.

“A lot of them are improvising other people and they can be quite influential people.”

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