Suffolk woman scammed out of nearly $300,000 by man she spoke to on dating website

Posted at 12:01 AM, Jul 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-21 06:22:48-04

Suffolk, Va. - Janet Cook says she joined in 2011 hoping to find a companion, but she says that simple desire wound up costing her nearly $300,000.

"I was lonely. I was by myself. I spent so much time in my house with nobody to talk to," Cook said. The first night she was on the site she says she met a man named Kelvin Wells.

Wells told her she lived in Manassas, Va., but also had a home in Germany. A few months after talking, he said he had to go to Ghana for a job, even sending an official looking document to prove he would be in Africa.

They talked so much on the phone and in email she thought she might love him. "I probably thought it was that as much as you can think of a thing online."

Once Wells was overseas, he got sick, and needed a kidney transplant. He said he went to a German embassy to get help. A fake embassy official explained Wells couldn't get to his money because he was in a different country. "At this point, the guy was about to die and I'm just feeling really bad," Cook said.

Cook reverse mortgaged her house to help pay for all the treatments. She kept sending money in the hopes of getting Kelvin out of the country and back to his money to repay her. "I was caught up in a web by then."

After months went by, she started to realize all of the expenses weren't adding up and this might all be fake. She called police in Africa, trying to track Wells down -- until she got a call explaining it was all a hoax and Wells wasn't real.

"It was like you've lost a friend or I don't even know how to explain it actually," Cook said. "It's like somebody died."

She hasn't gotten the money back, but hopes her story will be a warning to others about scams on dating websites.