For Love or Money: Man is scammed out of more than £10,000
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Mr Allum appeared on For Love or Money on BBC One to find out if the new love of his life Rubba was legitimate. Unfortunately, it was revealed that the woman in the photos he believed to be Rubba was actually a celebrity chef who was married and with a child of her own. She is entirely innocent and unconnected to this scam – the scammer had stolen her photos.
Mr Allum had been married for 25 years when his wife suddenly passed away five years ago.
The Hampshire bus driver found it was easier to use online dating sites than to actually go out and socialise due to his work schedule.
The father-of-three soon met someone online who said they were called Rubba Campbell. She said she was a French woman now living in Leeds with her young son after her husband had died of cancer.
Mr Allum noted she was a “nice looking lady” and that she very quickly seemingly fell in love with him, mentioning that they should get married.
Mr Allum shared that his online relationship was no secret: “I told my children and I also told my mother, she was pleased for me. I did fall in love with her.”
Ms Campbell claimed she worked with autistic and underprivileged children and was going to Ghana for a job, which is when the requests for money started coming in.
Mr Allum said: “She kept asking for bits and pieces. Once we were getting over one hurdle there seemed to be another hurdle with money. And it came down to the fact that I basically had three loans out and then I said to her, ‘There’s no more money, I’m going to lose the house’ so she said, ‘Well sell the house’. That was the red flag for me.”
He added that Ms Campbell appeared to be an open person, saying he “could ask her whatever I wanted”.
Once Ms Campbell got to Ghana, the pair had their first video call, Mr Allum recounted: “She said she didn’t have a camera but she managed to borrow one once she was out in Ghana from a friend and we did a Skype. But that only lasted about 20 minutes or so. It was just hello, how are you, nice to see you and that was about it.”
A little while later she asked Mr Allum for money as her and her son had been placed in the same hotel room as a male colleague, so she needed just £50 to find another place to stay.
From then on similar small budget requests were being made every few weeks when Ms Campbell dropped a bombshell on Mr Allum: “She said that all this had been a test to see how honest and gentlemanly I am I suppose. She said the real reason she had gone out there was to sort out her father’s estate which was supposed to be worth over £100million.
“This is when she said there was supposed to be 600 kilos of gold in a secure vault. She needed £28,000 to get this gold out. I just kept saying I couldn’t get hold of it.”
Having been denied the £28,000, Ms Campbell said she needed £1,500 to fly a lawyer from France named Francis Boyer to Ghana who would negotiate the release of the gold, which Mr Allum sent.
She claimed this lawyer managed to negotiate that the first batch of gold would be released for £10,000 instead of £28,000.
Mr Allum took out a £10,000 loan and sent the money, saying: “Francis had sent through his affidavit and his certificates. I thought it must be real.”
Another hiccup came when it was claimed the manager Mr Boyer had negotiated with leaving before the gold was released, with Mr Allum now being asked to send an additional £18,000.
He sent another £10,000 after taking out a second loan but then the gold supposedly got stuck at the airport, where a tax bill of £65,000 would need to be paid before it could go any further.
Mr Allum shared: “I then took a remortgage, got another £14,000 and sent that out. Then she was on about selling the house.”
This was the final straw for Mr Allum and he stopped contact with Ms Campbell and he then began noticing her images being used with different names on dating websites.
The woman in the photos, and who Mr Allum believed he had a video call with, was actually a celebrity chef who is famous on YouTube.
It is believed that the scammers had used one of her YouTube videos to fake the video call.
Additionally, experts analysing the images Ms Campbell had sent Mr Allum found that all of them had been digitally edited, including her supposed passport.
After finding out that he had been a victim of a scam, Mr Allum said:“It’s unbelievable. I’m devastated that the love of my life has done all this. I tried to help this woman that wasn’t real.”
When the man answered, he appeared to not know a Paul or Rubba, but when Mr John-Baptiste revealed he was being recorded for broadcast, Mr Boyer demanded to speak to Mr Allum saying: “He supports me.”
Mr Allum took the phone and said: “Francis, you’ve taken over £40,000 from me.”
To which the scammer simply replied: “I did, goodbye.”
For Love or Money continues tomorrow at 10am on BBC One.
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