It was a difficult decision to come clean about the matter to her partner who was angry at first but later calmed down. According to the Mirror UK, he thought he was giving his wife enough attention until she got mixed up with the scammer on Instagram.
Using a fake profile David, a 55-year-old hard-up widower from Texas in the United States of America, the internet fraudster who is suspected to be from Nigeria, reportedly charmed her because of his interest in her well-being.
Their conversation reportedly began in August, after the fake profile reached out to her on IG. The Mirror confirmed that they continued chatting via WhatsApp and he used the avenue to exploit her asking her for money which he promised to give back but never did.
“He always came across as caring and sympathetic towards me. He took an interest in what I was going through,” Astin told the Mirror.
“At first he asked for £200 for iTunes cards so he could buy data for his phone. He seemed so desperate and just kept asking me. He started asking for more and more but he promised he would get the money back to me. I honestly believed him.
“I knew in my head that what I was doing was wrong but I still did it. I can’t explain why.”
The vulnerability noticed in Gail Astin was reportedly as a result of depression and loneliness. She had recently moved house from Burnley in Lancashire, an English non-metropolitan county to Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders says the Mirror.
This reportedly made her to feel isolated as she was away from her friends and wanted to make new ones. Unfortunately, she fell into the hand of the wrong person.
Having succeeded in persuading her to send nude photos, the scammer provided her with a Nigerian bank account to pay money into.
In the report by The Mirror on Saturday, March 23, 2019, the profile used as David is a married Portuguese dad Pedro Hipolito, 46, who owns an international business development firm.
“It’s not the first time it has happened. It’s terrible that lonely people are the victims. It’s up to these big corporations to stop it from happening," says Hipolito.
Even though Astin was afraid, she had made peace with her situation in case her husband wanted to end their marriage because of her naivety.
“He was angry and struggled to understand why I did it – because I felt lonely and needed someone to talk to.
"I feared for my marriage and told him if he wants me to go, I will leave.”
The Mirror has gathered that the police are investigating an online fraud offense in connection to the incident.