I know a woman in her mid fifties who has been scammed out of an inheritance by a man who approached her on Facebook telling her she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

I’ll call her Lizzie, that’s not her real name, but she’s been through enough humiliation already and I’m loath to put her through more.

The reason I wanted to write about her was that these scams seem to be happening more and more, and they’re happening to middle-aged lonely women. You could say these women are perfect fodder; it’s been a while since anyone has paid them any attention and they would love some romance.

Someone they can trust who will woo them and make them feel like a woman again. Isn’t that what we all want?

Introducing Nathan

So along comes Nathan Salvatore a handsome Dude, (in his photo maybe, but in reality ‘Nathan’ is probably some smelly pimple-faced kid hunched over a computer in Russia), he must be about early forties looking at his photo. “I am writing this beautiful woman, the picture on your profile struck me and hit my attention. I really am honest, I don't know why I am writing you but I believe there should be a reason perhaps you are too beautiful that I can’t take my eyes off your pics or perhaps it’s the LOVE thing at first sight. I do pray and hope I am FALLING INTO THE RIGHT HANDS.

Have a blessed day sweetness,” wrote Nathan.

“Hi Nathan, I am sad as it is nearly a year since my Mum died. I like friends to be honest with me. Look forward to hearing from you xxxx”, Lizzie answered.

He told her she had an amazing smile and that he knew from the moment he’d viewed her profile she was the woman for him.

She wanted love so much

Now, I don’t want to pass judgement on Lizzie, but her profile photo showed a large tired bespectacled woman clutching a fluffy cat to her bosom. This Nathan dude was not looking for love with Lizzie, but she wanted it so much she entered his world of soft talk deception willingly, and was lost to all reason.

Lizzie’s beloved mum had left her $40,000 which was burning a whole in her bank account. Nathan didn’t know this but he was going to check her out and see if maybe some loose change was floating around he could relieve her of. And so the courting began.

Before I go any further, I should point out Lizzie was actually married, and when she was swopping sweet nothings online with Nathan each night, her husband was in the next room watching the telly.

Suffice to say it was a boring marriage and Lizzie was a sitting duck.

She dreamed they would live in California together

It didn’t take long for ‘Nathan’ to scam Lizzie out her $40,000. He faked sudden illnesses and bank complications needing urgent money transfers - the usual drill.

It was only when her bank got suspicious of her cash transactions to an Asian account and warned her that Lizzie was able to face up to reality. Nathan had no intention of coming to New Zealand and sweeping her off her feet, make sweet love to her and whisk her away to his large house in California.

Of course Lizzie’s husband left her, but that may have been a good thing - he wasn’t much company anyway she says.

So Lizzie is now penniless and living on her own, all she’s got for company are her two cats. She still talks about Nathan as if he’s real. “I keep ringing him and leaving messages. He worked hard scamming me. I want to let him know what I think of him” she told me. Yes, so will probably hundreds of other women he’s scammed.

It would be cruel to tell her

I wanted to say to her just look at yourself and this Scammer’s photo, does this guy really think you are the one for him? But I won’t because that’s cruel, I just want her to realise it herself. But if you don’t have a good sense of self, and who you really are, then you’re easy prey. You’re no different from when you were a teenager and dreaming that Mick Jagger would knock on your door and ask your mum if it’s ok to take you out.

You just hope that when you’re at the life changing time of middle-age and menopause, with old age staring you in the face you can enjoy being who you are and not fall under the spell of the scammer. Because they’re out there, and they’re coming for you.