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Entertainment Gran, 55, sent 'celebrity' thousands online after he started flirting

15:45  17 september  2021
15:45  17 september  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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A woman thought she had found true love and was about to become rich and famous after she was contacted online by someone she thought was American Idol judge Luke Bryan.

Retired grandmother Denise Vick, 55, was contacted by someone online who promised her a life of adventure and luxury.

She spent six months flirting with the person she thought was Luke Bryan, sending them more than £3,500.

The real Luke Bryan is a wealthy and successful musician, and a married father.

Denis told the Daily Star: "He used to tell me ‘don’t worry baby I have your back’ and he will give me everything I want in life.

“He promised riches and diamonds, vacations and touring with him."`

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a person wearing a pink shirt: Denise Vick © Provided by Wales Online Denise Vick

Denise Vick was duped by an online conman who pretended to be famous singer Luke Bryan (Image: Supplied)

Denise added: “I was so excited and thought I finally don’t have to worry about the future of my grandchildren and I can look after my daughter.

“I let myself dream of the potential. I got totally caught up in it.

“He told me as soon as his divorce came through we would be together and we’d get married.”

Denise said the scam started in October when she was sent a message online.

graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: Luke Bryan © Provided by Wales Online Luke Bryan

Messages Denise received from the cruel fraudster (Image: Supplied)

She said: “I recognised the face and name instantly and I just thought 'wow'. I was just a simple gal, how could I even have the privilege of meeting someone like this?

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“I questioned if it was real and he told me that celebrities don’t always share everything with the media.”

They spoke every day, until two weeks later 'Luke' said he was getting divorced and hisa wife had frozen his accounts.

He started to ask for money.

She said: “I told him I’m not a woman of wealth and I can’t afford him and he was totally out of my league. He would tell me how much he loved me and he needed money for his boy's birthday for video games.

“I started sending little bits at a time in steam cards. I felt sorry for him.”

The scammer asked Denise to keep their online fling a secret until his divorce was finalised.

She said: “I was naive to social media and I had heard of romance scams but never thought it could happen to me. At one point I even showed some messages to my son-in-law John along with the pictures Luke sent me.

“John said it was either a very good professional scammer or I am really talking to Luke Bryan. I so wanted it to be true.”

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Then Denise's Google account was hacked and her friends were sent messages asking for money after being told she was in the hospital.

The scammer's contact slowly stopped.

Denise said: “At first I thought he was at home with his wife and he asked to be discreet so I understood. He had a busy life with touring etc.

“But in the end he would only message me when he wanted something, usually money. I confronted him and asked for more proof but nothing was enough.”

Denise realised she had been scammed and blocked the account.

She said: “I was heartbroken. What a blow to my self-esteem for someone to build you up so high only to shoot you down so low.

“I now struggle to trust people and I don’t accept male friend requests. Before I was a people person.”

She added: “I’m trying so hard to advocate this and to warn others. My advice to women on dating sites is to FaceTime the person.

"Make them wave at you or even dance around the kitchen, anything to make sure they are real.

“Hopefully I can keep reaching out to help others, that’s what has helped me cope the most.”

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