Rachel Elwell, 50, is now facing bankruptcy after being taken in by the man’s lies. Police say the scam – known as “romance fraud” – is becoming increasingly common in the UK.
She was contacted by an “attractive and intelligent” man on the site at the start of 2021, and Wales Online says the pair struck up an instant connection.
The conman convinced Rachel he was being held captive in Eastern Europe and in desperate need of money, so Rachel sent the scammer tens thousands of pounds.
Rachel, of Brownhills, West Midlands, said her world “came crashing down” when she realised the magnitude of her error in April, but by then she had lost nearly £113,000.
Speaking to BBC Radio WM, the export manager said: “How could a human being make up such elaborate lies, send such convincing pictures and documents, tell someone that their life was in your hands?
“How could this be all a lie? A cruel scam?
“When he said to me his life was in danger and I didn’t hear from him, I thought he’d been murdered.
“Can you imagine feeling you’re responsible for whether someone lives or dies?”
The woman told the station the fraudster conned her with documents and pictures he’d faked.
She added he claimed to have been released from the captives after money had been sent, but he had told her he would not have his passport, which had been taken from him, until interest had been paid.
On the day the man told Rachel he was due to fly back, March 16, she went to Heathrow airport and got an email from supposed airport officials saying he had been arrested.
She said she had then approached Border Force officials who said, “look, it’s a scam”.
Romance scams have increased as people have searched online for love during the coronavirus lockdowns, figures suggest.
Trade association UK Finance recorded a 20% increase in bank transfer fraud linked to romance scams between January and November 2020, compared with a year earlier.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “Rachel’s case is a prime example of romance fraud, her case highlights how much these scammers affect people’s lives.”