Mum swindled out of £77,000 in house sale scam finally gets a new home... but her worries are far from over
A single mother who was the victim of an elaborate internet scam has now moved into her dream home.
But Amanda Jackson said she is facing a "long hard battle" to recoup the £76,959 she transferred into the bank account of fraudsters posing as solicitors.
Amanda Jackson said her life has fallen apart after they targeted her as she prepared to close on a house sale.
The single parent is now living in the new house after family and friends gathered together to lend her the whole sum of the stolen money so she could complete the sale.
But life is incredibly tough and uncertain as she faces Christmas in huge debt, with her confidence in banking forever shaken.
The Co Down woman is facing a "long, hard legal battle" to possibly gain compensation for the ill-fated money transfer that went into a rogue bank account.
Just settled in her new home in Lisburn with her two children, aged nine and 10, Amanda says that while she is indebted to the friends and family who lent her the money to pay for the house, she feels very stressed about owing such a large sum of money to them.
"I'm completely overwhelmed by what happened and I'm not sleeping properly," she told the Belfast Telegraph last night.
"I'm still trying to come to terms with it, as I now realise that I'm in debt that I wasn't meant to be in as the money was from the sale of my former marital home.
"It's an added stress for me as I don't like being in debt to anybody, never mind to people who have been so gracious to get me out of a hole.
"But I just have to do my best every day to try and put something away and to give something back to them when I can."
Ms Jackson was cruelly duped last month when emails sent between her and her solicitor on the transfer of a conveyancing payment were intercepted as she tried to complete on the purchase of a house.
She called into her bank - thinking that this was the safest way for her to transfer the money - to send the money to a new bank account after receiving details she believed to have been sent to her by her solicitor.
However, her solicitor did not send the email and the money was transferred to the wrong account.
By the time the mistake was realised, the money was gone.
The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster for Amanda.
While she has been preyed upon by faceless criminals, she has also been supported by the kindness of strangers.
"The £13,000 raised by well wishers on the JustGiving site will allow me to pay back some of the money I owe and I'm incredibly grateful for that as well.
"It's one day at a time now. I won't be getting an aerial as I have no TV at the moment, as I can't pay for the licence or the aerial, but that's just the way it has to be for now and I won't worry about the small stuff.
"I'm cutting my cloth to meet my current needs."
Amanda says that she finds it difficult to sleep at night with the worry of what has happened to her and feels anxious paying bills at the bank or using the internet.
She added: "Thankfully, I have a great faith in God and know he will see me through. I wasn't brought up to expect life to be easy and know it's a series of trials and tribulations.
"Those people and God are holding me up and I just have to be thankful for that.
"While we have moved in at the moment, I just don't know what I am going to do to reclaim the money. It looks like it's going to be a very long, slow road to get compensation, if any, from either from my solicitor or the bank.
"The sad thing is that every time you meet somebody, they ask how can this happen and that somebody must be responsible, but sadly that doesn't seem to be the case.
"That's the hardest part to come to terms with."