When Mel Greig spent a weekend with a “charismatic” man she met on Tinder, she thought it was the start of an exciting new romance.
But just days later, the former radio star was swindled out of $1,000 in a cruel scam after he completely ghosted her.
WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Mel Greig opens up on run-in with dating
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Mel says she dated the dashing man briefly in 2017 after finalising her divorce.
“I thought he was really charming and he said all the right things,” Mel, now 40, tells 7Life.
Shortly after the pair matched on the popular dating app, he sent her a friend request on Facebook where they came to know each other more.
“He told me he played rugby, worked in sales and had a busy life,” she says.
When she looked his name up, she discovered he was a “successful” high-flying sales executive working for a corporate company.
‘It all matched up’
Before meeting for their first date, Mel says she made him send a picture of himself with that day’s newspaper.
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being catfished,” she explains.
“Everything he told me about himself seemed legitimate – it all matched up.”
The pair arranged to meet for dinner on a Friday night where she noticed he “turned on his charm with everyone”.
“The first date went well,” she recalls.
“It went so well that he ended up staying over at my house for the weekend.”
She says she had naively let the man move into her home temporarily after he claimed he was struggling to find somewhere to live.
“On the third day, things changed,” she says.
During his stay, Mel claims he asked if he could borrow $1,000 after he ‘misplaced’ his bank card.
“He said he just wanted to borrow some money for a few days,” she explains.
“The way he asked was very effortless that it shouldn’t be a big deal.”
She says she trusted him because he even “proved” to her he was “wealthy”.
“At this point I’d seen his pay slip showing he earned more than $300,000 so I didn’t think it was odd,” she says.
‘He ghosted me’
The man went to work, leaving behind his bag of belongings so Mel didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary.
However, she never saw him again once she realised he’d ghosted her.
“He blocked me on social media and he blocked my number,” she says.
“I felt physically sick. It was naive of me to put trust in someone I’d just met.”
Looking back at the scam, she realised: “That was his plan from the start, he never wanted to date me.”
Her story bears a resemblance to Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler in which convicted conman Simon Leviev fools women he meets on Tinder into thinking he is the son of a billionaire diamond merchant before scamming them.
After sharing her story publicly three years ago, Mel claims more than 100 women – including a surgeon and a detective – have come forward claiming they’d fallen for the same Tinder swindler.
“I was absolutely disgusted,” she says.
“Every time I was contacted, it was a different story and a different amount of money he took.
“One woman told me she was scammed out of $70,000 from him.
“These women are intelligent, it just goes to show that it can happen to anyone.”
‘Don’t blame yourself’
Mel says there’s nothing they can do about it because they “willingly” gave the money to him as a “gift”.
She believes she was a target because she was a newly divorced “vulnerable” woman.
“These narcissists know how to prey on vulnerable women,” she says.
Since the ordeal, Mel says she hasn’t been on any dates over the past three years.
“It happened off the back of my divorce so I wasn’t ready to go back to dating,” she says.
“But I did sign up to Hinge last night.
“I’m feeling good and I’m ready to put myself out there again so we’ll see.”
‘It’s not on them’
Mel says victims of romance fraud should never blame themselves for what happened.
“Women need to know if they’ve been scammed, it’s not on them, it’s the perpetrator,” she says.
“And remember, you’re not stupid, you were taken advantage of by a professional scammer.”
She hopes her story might prevent others from falling victim to dating scams.
Mel is sharing her story as an idea for a new film competition she’s part of called Feature 30.