Widow Di Pogson, 57, and divorcee Sharon Turner, 63, thought they had found love with "wealthy businessman Kevin". Picture: Flickr.com

London - Two women have told how they were together conned out of £240 000 (about R4.4 million) in a ruthless online romance fraud.

Widow Di Pogson, 57, and divorcee Sharon Turner, 63, thought they had found love with "wealthy businessman Kevin".

But he soon asked for help to pay a vet’s bill, then told a series of sob stories to persuade them to hand over thousands.

Pogson, of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, began online dating two years after losing husband Ian in 2014 and exchanged messages and spoke on the phone to "Kevin". She was tricked into handing over £40 000 before realising she had been conned.

"I felt so stupid," she said. "He always had an answer and would play on my guilt and self-doubt. He truly led me to believe he loved me, that we’d be together.

"Now, I just want to warn other people to be wary online." Turner, from London, lost around £200 000 to the same gang. "Looking back, I wonder how I could have fallen for it," she admitted.

"But it’s human nature – we all want to be loved by somebody."

Daily Mail