Gran quit skint after flirting with fake TV star who ‘promised diamonds’
Denise Vick was convinced she was on the verge of being rich and famous after her favorite singer supposedly reached out to her – only to be left out.
The retired grandmother believed she fell in love with the superstar, but later learned that she had been sorely caught.
She spent six months believing she was flirting with American Idol judge Luke Bryan.
And although the real Luke is a wealthy married father, the 55-year-old ended up sending the impersonator over £ 3,500.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Star, Denise said: “He was telling me ‘don’t worry baby I’m backing you’ and he will give me everything I want in life.
“He promised riches and diamonds, vacations and tours with him.”
Denise added, “I was so excited and thought I finally didn’t have to worry about my grandchildren’s future and could take care of my daughter.
“I let myself dream of the potential. I let myself be completely taken in.
“He told me that as soon as his divorce was over, we would be together and we would get married.”
So how exactly did someone masquerading as Luke Bryan manage to manipulate Denise?
The grandmother explained that it all started in October of last year.
She was sitting outside on her porch when a message popped up.
“I recognized the face and name instantly and just thought ‘wow’,” Denise said.
“I was just a simple girl, how could I even have the privilege of meeting someone like that?”
“I wondered if this was real and he told me celebrities don’t always share everything with the media.”
From that point on, the couple chatted every day.
But two weeks later, the fake Luke made a confession: he was divorcing his wife and she had “frozen his bank account”.
Soon after, he started asking Denise for money.
She said: “I told her that I was not a rich woman and that I could not afford it and that it was totally out of my reach.
“He was telling me how much he loved me and he needed money for his boy’s birthday for video games.
“I started sending small chunks at a time to Steam cards. I felt sorry for him. “
Fake Luke begged Denise to keep their online affair a secret until her divorce was finalized.
But Denise said that over time she started to wonder if it was too good to be true.
She explained, “I was naive on social media and heard about romance scams, but I never thought that could happen to me.
“At one point I even showed my son-in-law John messages with the photos Luke sent me.
“John said he was either a really good professional con artist or I really spoke to Luke Bryan.
“I wanted it so badly.”
But over time Denise, who lives in Colorado, grew increasingly concerned.
At one point, her Google account was hacked and her friends were getting messages asking for money after learning she was in the hospital.
Then Luke’s false contact slowly stopped.
Denise said: “At first I thought he was home with his wife and he asked to be quiet so I got it.
“He had a busy life with tours and so on.
“But at the end of the day, he only texted me when he wanted something, usually money.
“I confronted him and asked for more evidence but nothing was enough.”
Denise finally realized she had blown thousands of pounds and ended up blocking it in March.
No longer dating and planning an exciting future with the hunky celebrity left her crushed.
She said: “I was heartbroken. What a blow to my self-esteem for someone to lift you up so high only to bring you down so low.
“Now I have a hard time trusting people and I don’t accept requests from male friends. Before, I was a sociable person.
Despite the setback, Denise said she was still a huge Luke Bryan fan, but said listening to his music was weird.
After the scam she even sent the interpreter a DM and wrote, “The real Luke Bryan, please stand up.”
The grandmother is now warning women about romance scams and said she helped three other people stay clear of Luke Bryan’s fake messages.
She added, “I try so hard to stand up for this and warn others.
“My advice to women on dating sites is to make the person FaceTime.
“Have them greet you or even dance in the kitchen, whatever to make sure they’re real.
“I hope I can continue to reach out to help others, that’s what helped me cope the most.”