"I was a bit surprised [by] somebody contacting me from so far away, when I was clearly saying I wanted somebody to explore Melbourne with, but we continued to communicate," she said.Over the next month Eamon expressed a keen interest in Ms Marshall, and soon began professing his love for her."They bomb you with love," she said.
By this time the man claimed to have gone to Dubai to take up a short-term work contract, after which he said he would come Australia to be with her.
It was then that he started to ask for money."In Dubai there were an increasing number of problems that he needed financial support for," said Ms Marshall."There was supposedly a cheque he had received for the work which he couldn't cash because it needed to go into his bank in England."He also said he needed money to pay taxes or they wouldn't let him leave the country."I gave him money for the taxes and that night he was attacked and he lost the money."Just as she thought she had paid his way out of the country, he claimed to have a car accident on the way to the airport.
"The next thing he's in hospital needing money for medical treatment," said Ms Marshall.
Finally, just after he told Ms Marshall he had left Dubai, he cut off all contact."I realised it was a scam," she said.
Ms Marshall was left thousands of dollars in debt."Some of it was personal savings, some of it was increases in my credit cards, and finally when I was getting desperate I took money out of my self-managed super fund, which I was not allowed to do."The tax office made her close the fund down and demanded she pay tax on the amount she withdrew."I've ended up with a tax debt of over $70,000," she said."I've got absolutely no idea how I'll pay it because my job was made redundant last August."She hopes to find a publisher for a book she has written about her experience.
Ms Marshall used reputable companies to transfer the money, but police later discovered the funds had been diverted to Nigeria.
Seeking out support, Ms Marshall discovered a number of online resources for victims of so-called romance scams.
However, Ms Marshall feels the word "scam" underplays the seriousness of the crime she and others have suffered.
In 2010 Jan Marshall tried online dating, and soon after met a man she thought she would spend the rest of her life with.