A divorced mum was left struggling to buy food after sending a fake British soldier more than £5,000 when he threatened to leak raunchy snaps of her.
Nadine Nitz said she could barely pay her rent and was left living in fear.
She had previously sent the romance scammer lingerie shots but he also threatened to photoshop her face onto naked bodies before releasing them.
The sick revenge porn plot forced Nadine to send him more cash which she often worked 16 hours a day, six days a week to earn.
She is now seeing a therapist after being left “broken” by the ruthless scam.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Star, Nadine said: “The first time I told him I didn’t have money to send him he told me he would put my face on nude photos and make an Instagram account for them.
“At first I couldn’t believe what he said. I was scared. I was really scared. So I sent him a few hundred straight away even though I couldn’t afford to.
“He then apologised and promised he was just kidding and that he loved me.
“But from then on I sent him money whenever he asked because I was scared.”
Nadine, 44, who lives in Dusseldorf, Germany, first started speaking to the scammer, who called himself Craig, in January.
He sent her a message on Instagram but Nadine ignored it because he was a stranger.
But Craig, posing as a soldier, wouldn’t leave her alone.
After a few days, Nadine replied and the pair got chatting.
She said: “He told me he was born in England but later moved to Texas.
“He said he was serving in Syria and he had a daughter and he was widowed. We then spoke every day.”
After a few weeks, the so-called Craig had her exactly where he wanted.
Nadine admitted: “By then he knew I loved him. It was the way he talked to me and treated me like I was really special.
“He knew I missed a man and sometimes I felt alone.
“I enjoyed having someone to share my thoughts and problems with.
“I hadn’t had a man in seven years since my divorce and was working such long hours. He was the one who was there for me and he made me feel like I could do anything.
“He gave me confidence.”
Nadine was working as a restaurant manager and a bar keeper at the time.
And two months after the online relationship started, she told her son, 21 and daughter 18, about him.
However, they warned their mum that it could be a scam.
Nadine said: “They both said I should be careful and that he could be a scammer.
“I thought they didn’t want me to have a man. I confronted Craig but he said he’d give me everything and more back.
“He said they don’t want me to be happy and I believed him.”
But weeks later Craig bullied Nadine into coughing up more money after cruelly taunting her about leaked photos.
He often claimed he needed the cash to access the internet so he could continue speaking with her.
Nadine sent him iTunes cards worth up to £200 every week but soon started sending cash every couple of days.
He promised to fly to soon Germany so they could build a life together.
But in July her best friend delivered some devastating news.
She had found the page of James Elliott – the real soldier whose pictures had been stolen.
Nadine confronted her conman who responded by blocking her.
She said: “My first thought was I wanted to die.
“I had told this person everything about me. It’s not about the money, it was the feelings and the disappointment.
“I had isolated myself for months away from my family and friends.
“The man not only took over £5,000 from me, he broke me.”
However, thanks to a therapist and friends and family, Nadine is now doing much better.
She added: “Without them I would still be in this hole.”
Nadine now feels strong enough to share her story.
She is desperate to warn other women online that professional scammers will stop at nothing to exploit them.
“Nobody should feel like this,” Nadine added. “This happens too often and women are getting catfished every single day.
“It could happen to anybody so don’t judge.
“I can only say be careful and ask you never to send money over the internet to someone you don’t know.
“I want to help protect people from this.”