He waited patiently at the arrivals hall at Aberdeen International Airport for Aylah to arrive – but there was no sign of the woman with whom he hoped to spend the rest of his life.
Ronald, 77, was confused as to why Aylah wasn’t there and was worried something had happened to the woman for whom he had gone into debt so he asked airport staff.
But the pensioner’s dream quickly turned to a nightmare as police took him to one side and said: “you’ve been scammed.”
In this P&J Investigates video Ronald, whose real identity we have protected, opens up for the first time about his online dating scam ordeal that cost him thousands of pounds.
As he rebuilds his life and finances, the north-east widower told us: “My advice to people would be – don’t send any money, don’t take 100% notice of what they tell you.”
Ronald isn’t the first person to be caught in a north-east online dating scam and unfortunately he probably won’t be the last.
Detective Sergeant David Williamson is part of Police Scotland’s North East Division cyber-enabled crime team.
He said: “Criminals operate across a variety of dating platforms.
“Paid-for services are used by criminals as it adds credibility to the character they construct.
“Be mindful of how much personal information you share on dating platforms.
“Finally and most importantly, under no circumstances should requests or demands for money be met.”
If you have been a victim of crime or wish to receive further information on how to prevent falling victim to cyber-enabled crime, contact Police Scotland on ‘101’ or visit the Police Scotland website.
P&J Investigates is our new video series, looking at the devastating emotional and financial impact of online scams.
- Video: How Aberdeen mum fell victim to Catfish romance fraudster she thought was her soulmate
- Video: Aberdeenshire fisherman hit by £65,000 ‘Bill Gates’ fraud scam
- Video: Aberdeenshire mum’s ordeal at hands of gang who used bank where she worked to swipe £6,500
- Video: How Aberdeenshire man lost £75,000 in three months in Bitcoin fraud
- Video: Aberdeen student reveals how he was blackmailed for cash by Filipino sextortion gang
Words and interviews by Dale Haslam
Story design by Cheryl Livingstone
Videos by Drew Farrell
Graphics by Carly Gilchrist and Mhorvan Park
SEO by Jamie Cameron
A special thanks to those who provided the voices for our videos.