A woman from the north west of England has said that she has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds to a fraudster she believed to be the actor Jason Statham.
The woman, who has remained anonymous, said that she was targeted at a “vulnerable time” following the deaths of both her mother and her fiancé.
She told BBC Radio Manchester that she was contacted by someone posing as Statham while she was on a Facebook page dedicated to him.
“I thought ‘Oh, that’s nice of him, talking to his fans’,” she said. “I might have been star-struck then, I don’t know… I’m quite a strong person but obviously certain things get to you and you let your guard down.”
She was invited by the fraudster to start talking to him on WhatsApp, where she then began a dialogue with him over several months. “I don’t feel like I was in the right place myself because of what I’d been through,” she said.
The fraudster eventually managed to convince her that he was in financial trouble because of a delayed film payment. She subsequently made a series of payments to him, the exact sum of which is not known but is said to total several hundred thousand pounds.
The woman called it “a substantial amount, which would have made a difference to my life and family.”
Eventually she contacted Greater Manchester Police, whose economic crime unit investigated what had taken place.
“This lady has been subject to somebody who just tricked her at a very vulnerable time in her life,” said GMP’s detective constable Craig Moylon.
“When you see the relentless messaging that this lady got from this person and you see the grooming and the exploitation… the impact is extraordinary.”