A Poole man fears he nearly fell victim of an internet dating scam after his Russian would-be girlfriend started demanding money.

Carl Wingrove, 34, decided to give internet dating a try a few weeks ago – and his friend set him up a profile on iSingles.co.uk.

He told the Daily Echo that within hours of it appearing, despite the fact his friends had been less than flattering about him, he had a message – supposedly from a beautiful Russian blonde.

Soon the pair were exchanging up to three emails a day, and everything was going well – until she demanded money.

She claimed she was stuck at Moscow airport and wasn’t allowed to travel to the UK to see him without £1,500 to show she could support herself. She asked him for £485.

Carl, a forklift driver from Branksome, smelled a rat and didn’t send the cash.

Then his Russian “sweetheart” asked for his bank details – suggesting an elaborate plan whereby her uncle would give money to him to forward on to her.

Suspicions aroused, Carl researched his phoney girlfriend on the internet – and found her photo – sometimes with a different name – linked to reports of a Russian dating scam. Some people posting on the websites said they had lost thousands.

He said: “I didn’t lose any money but I came close to it. People need to be warned about this. These people are very good at what they do.”

He added: “It’s my first and last attempt at internet dating!”

Gilad Mittelman of iSingles told the Echo “all necessary measures” had been taken following Mr Wingrove’s complaint.

He added: “Unfortunately, there will always be people attempting to utilise the anonymity of the internet for their own benefit.”

He said most of Mr Wingrove’s communications had been standard emails and so beyond the website’s control, but iSingles had an “advanced monitoring and filtering system”.

He also referred to iSingles online dating tips which advise: “Never transfer money to other members” and “refrain from providing any financial information”.