A woman who joined an online dating site was conned out of £120,000 by a scammer.
The divorcee said she experienced "temporary insanity" and was gaslit by her online partner.
The scammer emotionally manipulated her, saying "we're just investing in our future."
A woman was conned out of £120,000, which is nearly $150,000, by a romance scammer who she met on a dating website, the BBC reported.
Linda Young, a special education school administrator, joined a dating website for over-50s after divorcing her husband of 24 years.
She said she soon met a handsome man and fell "head-over-heels in love," the BBC reported.
She would communicate with her scammer through daily texts, emails, and late-night phone calls, bonding over their shared affinity for dogs.
"He would be so loving and caring," Young recalled. "I just couldn't stop the adrenaline rush. It was addictive. Every time my phone buzzed or a text came through from him, my whole world just lit up."
Their online romance appeared to be blossoming, and they even began planning their future life together. But that's when the scammer began asking her to send him money, saying that he would invest it for them both.
When Young's romance scammer began making the requests, she was skeptical, but he reassured her, saying: "We're just investing in our future. All of this will come back to us."
Young never recovered her money. "It took me a long time to work through the shame," she said.
Young told the BBC that the experience with the scammer was like a "temporary insanity" and that she was "under his spell."
Stacey Wood, a forensic neuropsychology expert, previously told Insider that romance scammers "really invest in developing a relationship," and that "it may be six months before they ask for money."
"That's a commitment," she added.
One technique frequently used by romance scammers is gaslighting, a form of emotional abuse that some people use to gain power and control over their victims.
They do this by making them "question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity," according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline's website.
"Once an abusive partner has broken down the victim's ability to trust their own perceptions, the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship," it adds.
Romance scams have boomed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Americans losing $1.3 billion to the cons last year — up 164% from 2019, as Insider previously reported.
Read the original article on Insider