What began with a click on a fan page site has led to an Indianapolis woman being fleeced of her life savings in an online romance scam.
The woman, who asked not to be named out of embarrassment, has been communicating online with a man she thought was an actor on the soap opera "General Hospital."
The impostor convinced the married woman to send him money via gift cards.
The scheme was simple: She'd buy gift cards and share the numbers on the back so that he could then access the money. The scammer told her that the money would pay for a personal project and for her trip to visit Hollywood to meet other soap opera stars.
The woman said she began sending thousands of dollars once the scammer expressed his love for her.
"He coaxed me into that," the woman told Scripps News Indianapolis. "I was gullible at the time."
In July, she purchased 29 cards totaling $3,600. In August, she sent the scammer a combination of gift cards and money orders totaling $12,500. She continued sending money over the next several months, most recently $5,000 at the beginning of January.
"He was such a sweet-talker," the woman said. "He would convince me."
The online imposter used the name of soap opera star Steve Burton as part of his scheme to get the money.
In August, the real Steve Burton warned on Instagram that he does not "reach out personally to fans" and to "beware of scammers."
"I would say I was in love. Stupid in love," the woman said.
The woman has equated the relationship with the scammer to an addiction. She has left her home and is planning on divorcing her husband of 55 years while she waits for the scammer to pick her up in a limousine.
The woman told Scripps News Indianapolis that she agreed to get a quick deed and place her husband's name on the home, so that she will not sell the house to buy more gift cards or money orders for the scammer.
This story was originally published by Rafael Sánchez at Scripps News Indianapolis.
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