UK Man Flew to S’pore to Meet Online Girlfriend Only to Realise It’s a Scam

Relationships can be hard.

Even harder when you’re trying your best to meet “The Right One” that you want to eventually settle and spend the rest of your life with, happily.

But you never know what might be hidden behind a slicked back hairstyle or made-up face until it’s way too late, and you’ve been blind in love and missed all the warning signs that it was wrong.

Now with all kinds of dating apps where it’s incredibly easy to make a fake account and don on a charming persona, you have to sieve out the real and the fake.

For this man from the United Kingdom (UK), well, he didn’t know he was catfished until he was stranded in the foreign island of Singapore, stuck in self-isolation with the overwhelming thoughts that he’d been screwed over.

How The Story Starts

For this unnamed UK man, he was turning 40 soon and he didn’t want to be single for the eighth year in the row.

In that span of time, he had been recommended to all sorts of dating apps by his friends like Plenty of Fish (didn’t know this one existed), Tinder, Asian Dates and Shaadi, the latter two of which are specifically catered to the Asian demographics.

Having been put down on the dating game, his expectations were simple: he just wanted a Sikh woman who had similar aspirations to settle down, get married, and have kids.

As lockdowns were happening worldwide, going outside and mingling wasn’t much of an option, so he turned towards the virtual realm.

After swiping left for most women, he came across a lady who “seemed perfect” for him.

She was allegedly from the Sikh community, didn’t consume alcohol or meat, and she shared similar interests as the UK man. Her photographs were simple, and she looked pretty enough.

The UK man gave her the pseudonym of “Sandi”.

The “Woman” Called Sandi

From her description, she lived in Singapore which was an ocean away from the United Kingdom, but since his own options were set for “worldwide”, he chose to swipe right.

He was excited to speak to her; he messaged her instantaneously and asked about her, and what she was looking for in a man.

She responded positively, they exchanged numbers, and the pair spoke on the phone every day.

There’s always this lingering joke that “you only marry someone from abroad because no one wants you locally”, but this might have rung a little true for the UK man, since he was fed up with UK women that “wanted to waste his time” and he felt that they were very arrogant.

Sandi appeared to be the perfect woman for him: “She was gentle, kind, always making the effort to call and be there for me – she truly sounded like she would be the perfect wife.”

In a few months, the UK man described that he was “head over heels in love”.

(But that just meant that he had properly fallen for the bait, hook, line, and sinker.)

He didn’t see the signs until it was too late.

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The Red Flags

For one, they would communicate by WhatsApp every day, but when he asked for a video call, she would deny his request and make excuses.

For instance, she would say she lived in an extended household, and she had to care for her grandmother.

The UK man thought nothing of it, merely assuming that it was a cultural difference, especially since Sandi had divulged that she had experienced a lot of judgement from the guys she dated.

Thus, the UK man chose not to pressure into anything, willing to take it slow and avoided the hard questions like whether she was a virgin, how many men she had been with prior, was she planning to live with the in-laws after getting married, so on and so forth.

After speaking for two months, Sandi convinced the UK man that she would move to his country and live with his family, and this would take place in the next year.

Meanwhile, Sandi would be occupied with her lawyer course, so she could ger a proper job.

The UK man didn’t doubt her at all and told his family that he was met someone online and he was going to marry her.

His family, however, wasn’t as keen on the idea, because they knew nothing about her and everything seemed too rushed.

Then, one day, Sandi asked him to send her £5,000 to help support her with her bills

Apparently, besides handling her education, she had to pay for utilities, phone bill, car insurance, and a loan she had taken to expand her career prospects by getting a qualification.

…to just interrupt, how does one get a car and loan at the same time when they’re still studying, and know that they’re financially incapable of handling so much?

However, the UK man bought her narrative.

“I was happy to help her. I could hear the stress in her voice,” he said.

But the requests for financial assistance never stopped.

A few weeks later, Sandi said that she had fallen ill with a heart condition.

(Must be a case of a blackened heart, I’m assuming, since it can’t be a bleeding heart or guilty conscience.)

Worried and panicked, the UK man sent her £1,000 without any questions asked so she could go for check-ups at the hospital.

Every time she went back to the hospital, he would send her more money.

Sandi clearly knew the man was besotted and a goner, because she continued to ask for money shamelessly, for various reasons.

Sometimes it would be a family member with mental health issues and was in a care home. Perhaps her goldfish was sick. Her car was totalled by a tree that incidentally fell on it on the highway. She got struck by lightning that worsened her heart condition.

(Only the first one was an actual reason listed by the UK man.)

For the next eight months, he kept sending her money and offering his help.

From the man’s perspective, he was helping someone who was going to be his future wife.

The Falling of the Other Shoe

After months of only communicating online and being led by the nose, the UK man became desperate and just wanted to feel her warmth in her real life.

Now that the travel ban was lifted, he immediately booked a flight to Singapore in the nearest available dates.

Sandi was “really happy” and excited that he was coming over to see her.

The whole trip to Singapore cost him £3,000 due to the COVID-19 tests, flight ticket, and quarantine upon arrival.

He was nervous, anxious, and scared for the first meeting. Of course, there was anticipation and excitement too.

When he arrived at the Singapore Airport 13 hours later, he imagined a cliché and dramatic scene where he would run up to her and hug her to feel her warmth.

But clichés and romantic scenes are what art and fiction is made out of; reality is a much crueller and harsher mistress.

When he arrived in Singapore, he didn’t see anyone waiting for him.

He messaged and called her, but he received no reply.

He sat down and waited. And waited.

After five hours of just sitting there, reality finally sank in, like stone.

“Sandi” wasn’t real.

Shocked, Confused, and Hurt

“I felt shocked. I was confused, lost, and really hurt. How could I have been so stupid? I thought about all the conversations we had, and played my parents’ advice to not rush over and over in my head. What would I tell them?”

To add salt to his wounds, he still had to stay in Singapore for quarantine, even though his “future wife” didn’t show up.

Those 14 days were some of his most painful and mentally draining days.

After he was released from the mandatory self-isolation, he stayed in Singapore for a while, to take in what had happened, and make the most of the trip and the country he found himself in.

The UK man stated that he was “completely broken”, both emotionally and financially.

The break and time for himself to process was something he really needed.

The imaginary wife was gone; Sandi wasn’t picking up his calls or replying to his messages anymore.

He reported the case to the Singapore Police, but there wasn’t much that they could do.

He contacted Tinder right away and they could only delete her account.

How Far to Have Fallen

In the end, the UK man sent Sandi £20,000 at least.

He’s still fighting with his bank to get his money back, but it’s not possible for the bank to pay him back the thousands that he had given to Sandi.

The bank said it was his fault, and he should have known that Sandi wasn’t real.

Damn, that’s harsh. There’s no need to twist a knife into his wound.

The whole debacle left the UK man with distraught emotions, a mental break, and a constant, churning stomach pain.

His health suffered for it, he was in debt for a person who didn’t exist, he changed his life for someone who was never committed to him.

His family was embarrassed that he had been catfished, and were worried what the Sikh community would think if they found out about this ordeal.

Happy Endings Still

Fortunately for the UK man, he finally met someone genuine from Canada through the Shaadi dating app last year.

Frankly speaking, I’m surprised he still has the guts to use another dating application.

Having been bitten once, badly at that, the UK man couldn’t bring himself to trust her until they met in real life, even though he was already in love with her before then.

After dating for 10 months, he can proudly announce that he’s married to his current wife.

Alas, the scars and doubts still remain, because his current wife is still in Canada, and it will take her some time to come over to the UK.

The UK man wishes for his own story to be a cautionary tale that catfishing does exist, and that the world of dating has changed so much since the introduction of dating applications.

Always make sure to think twice before swiping right, or at the very least, don’t freely give your money to someone you’ve never really met.

Plus, if someone is this financially inept—is this the right word to use?—you’d have to worry about your future lives together and that’s a whole other problem, unless you have that much money to spare.

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Featured Image: Shutterstock / Katja Frischbutter