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Last year there were 3,363 reported cases of dating fraud, up 2pc on the previous year.
The sums lost totalled £24m, according to police figures.
He sent her photos purporting to be of him at work with his colleagues. Eventually, after several weeks of contact he asked Karen if she thought it was a good idea if he invested in oil, just like his supposed colleagues were doing.
A few days later he asked her if she would like to make a contribution to this investment.
Karen says: “I was suspicious but I wanted to believe him. The first time he asked me for money I got quite upset but he somehow talked me round.” Karen, who didn’t want to reveal the total amount of money that was transferred, said that she deep down she feared or even "knew" that he was “manipulating” her. It wasn’t until he asked her to take a loan out against her house that Karen realised matters had gone too far. I felt lonely and abandoned.” “I reported the case to Action Fraud and after the police investigation I was told that they couldn’t do anything because I had voluntarily put the money in his bank.
She confronted him via phone and text message and soon after he disappeared from her life, ending communication entirely. “More should be done to ensure justice is served and these people are caught.” A spokesman for Action Fraud says: “Action Fraud does not have investigation powers.
The reports taken by Action Fraud are sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) who collate and analyse intelligence on fraud.