One of the names she was given was "Natasha Ivanova".
After complaints to the police, they discovered to their shame that they were being sweet-talked on the web by a beefy, 6ft 4in Cameroonian medical student named Nde Saninong.
They never saw the money or heard from the women again. In a final humiliating twist, they found out, usually far too late, that many of the sensuous "women" with whom they had been corresponding were actually men - part of one of the many sinister Russian mafia rings making a fortune out of such scams.
Really 'she' was conman Oleg Yelsukov, below, now in jail.The photo was actually of Alsou, a Russian pop star and daughter of an oil tycoon "I was enraged that my photograph served the rotten purposes of these swindlers," she said."I wanted to take action myself at first when I discovered the scam."But then I realised our law-enforcement bodies could do it far better than me.According to investigators, the same photograph was also used to ensnare a 45-year-old German construction worker called Friedrich Deichmann, who eventually parted with €26,000 (£21,500).In this case, the gang used a team of female students, fluent in English, to write to him and even chat on the phone, pretending to be besotted with him.Two of the men behind this particular scam - Sergey Chetverikov, 22, and Oleg Yelsukov, 24 - have now been brought to justice and are serving three years in prison.
But with the returns that can be made on these scams, the pair are likely to be back at work as soon as they get parole."This sordid business has recently seen a rapid growth in our country, with a great number of fake sites appearing on the web."People are striving to find their 'other half' and these crooks are like parasites on their feelings and hopes. He had certain hopes which were ruined in the lowest way." Another photograph used by the scammers was that of the Russian singer Alsou, the daughter of a wealthy oil tycoon, who has a penthouse in London and is also happily married.Her pictures were simply ripped off and she was dubbed "Anna Safina".No wonder this new industry is said to be worth an incredible £40-£ 50 million a year to the city.One fraudster, who poses as an attractive blonde called Anna Ivanova, said: "The average salary in my city is £75 a month."The choice here is simple - either poverty or larceny. "People are fools if they want to find a wife on the internet."It is not real.I'm sure that together we will have a lot of fun and spend great time!