Coronation Street favourite Kym on why she’s turning detective to expose online dating scams
Earlier this year, when Kym Marsh announced that she was quitting her role as Coronation Street favourite Michelle Connor, fans assumed that it was to try other acting roles.
Yet while Kym hasn’t turned her back on stage and screen, it was a new BBC1 investigative series that proved impossible to resist. In For Love or Money, airing weekday mornings next week, Kym and BBC journalist Ashley John-Baptiste hunt down culprits of online romance fraud – sweet-talking scammers who con their victims out of thousands of pounds.
“I find the subject fascinating,” says Kym, 43, who also has a personal reason for wanting to explore this particular subject.
“It’s relatable to me as my own identity has been stolen by a scammer to catfish someone else [they pretended to be Kym while chatting online to others]. I received flowers from someone who thought they were dating me. It was scary.”
Here, Kym Marsh, who’s still on the cobbles until just before Christmas, talks about her new BBC1 show For Love or Money…
Did your past experience of identity theft attract you to this show?
Kym Marsh: “Yes, I’ve not been a direct victim of romance fraud but having my identity stolen was awful. And when you talk to friends and family, you realise how prevalent it is.”
Were you sceptical about people giving money to someone they barely knew?
KM: “When I first began working on the show, I found it really hard to understand how people could have been persuaded to hand over money to strangers. But when I started talking to the victims, I realised they were asking all the right questions and requesting evidence when they thought something wasn’t quite right. The truth is, it could happen to anyone looking for love online.”
In episode one, we meet Pat, who has been conned out of almost £60,000. What can you tell us about her?
KM: “She’s intelligent and not the sort of person you think would be taken in by this. But the scammer was so convincing – really making it seem he wanted a relationship before asking for money.”
It’s obvious in the series you really care for the victims…
KM: “It’s an awful crime. The effects are long-lasting as scammers don’t just steal people’s money but also their dignity and ability to trust others.”
What do you hope viewers will take from the series?
KM: “I’d like it to encourage people to analyse who they’re talking to online, and to give them the information they need to tackle potential scammers.
Would you like to do more presenting in the future?
KM: “I’m about to star in the stage show Elf, which tours the UK this Christmas, but I do enjoy presenting and would love to do more.”
Written by Rebecca Fletcher