Two sisters have teamed up to share their story after stopping a Tinder conman in his tracks when he tried to steal $300,000 from one of them.
Emma Ferris, from New Zealand, launched the podcast ‘Conning the Con’ with her sister Sarah Ferris in an effort to warn other women using the platform.
In the process of sharing her experience Ms Ferris uncovered a trail of other women that the man she had dated, Andrew Tonks, from Tasmania had left behind.
Andrew Tonks (pictured) plead guilty to conning Ms Ferris after they met on Tinder
Emma Ferris (pictured left) and her sister Sarah (pictured right) have launched a podcast to share their experience and as a warning to other women
‘We found a pattern of similar incidents that he had left in his wake. Leaving behind disruption and distress that hasn’t been dealt with,’ Emma said.
When Tonks was still unaware that Emma had finally caught onto his scam, he wrote her a letter trying to explain his strange behaviour.
‘He wrote me this fantastical story trying to convince me he is actually a spy and was working in counter terrorism which is why he was being so secretive,’ Emma told Daily Mail Australia.
Emma (pictured), who is a breathing coach, said she want to empower other women to find the tools to recover if they have been through similar experiences
The sister’s podcast has consistently reached number one in New Zealand
By doing the podcast, the sisters discovered a number of restaurants and a former employer who also had levelled claims against Mr Tonks along with the woman he had duped.
In 2007 he had been charged with stealing after he sold a company car he was using while working for wind turbine company Hazel Bros and used the money to buy a motorbike.
He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service for the theft.
After then moving to New Zealand he met Emma on Tinder and the pair dated for six months.
She said even early on there were several red flags she noticed which she convinced herself could be explained.
‘The good girl in us is thinking … ‘let’s trust them’ but it didn’t seem right. [I should have] just listened to my gut and said ‘this is not good enough’,’ Emma said.
On their first date he told her he was not searchable on Google because he had previously been the victim of identity fraud.
He also showed her financial documents he had cooked up to show he was a successful entrepreneur and told her he was a former AFL player and elite wakeboarder.
Towards the end of their relationship he convinced her they should invest in property together – to which she committed $50,000.
The deception continued with Tonks asking for more money – leading her friends, who could perhaps see things clearer, to look deeper into his background.
Andrew Tonks had changed his name to Andrew Thomson – explaining why he was not searchable on Google.
‘They found this little piece of paper with his other name while searching through his company documents and found out he had previously been jailed for fraud.’
Her friends uncovered his dual identity just as Emma had handed over a further $250,000.
Emma, acting quickly, outconned the conman by not letting on that she was onto him and claimed her brother needed the money.
She asked him to transfer the cash back temporarily – most of which he did – and then went to police and assisted their investigation to catch Tonks out.
Emma’s (pictured) podcast is co-hosted and produced by her sister Sarah who is based in London
Ms Ferris (pictured) said the podcast had helped her feel like she had regained her power after being conned
Tonks was subsequently arrested and plead guilty to theft in a special relationship and fraud charges linked to forged documents and a company he ran.
He served 18 months of a 28 month sentence before being released on parole and negotiated his repayments to Emma down to a fraction of the debt remaining.
Emma and her sister Sarah, along with psychologist Dr Sophie Muir, delve into the experience on their show – which has reached number one on the New Zealand Apple Podcasts chart.
The show has also convinced others to speak up sharing their experiences of being conned.
Emma added she felt the podcast was helping her gain her power back and warned other woman to listen to their intuition and talk to their friends.
‘The podcast is about educating people and knowing what behaviours to look for and to teach people how to recover and be s stronger person.’
‘I want to empower women that they are not alone. When you are isolated and scared is the time you need to reach out. The scammers hope you never speak about it because of shame but that’s how they keep doing it.’
Emma has since started competitive hiking in her home country of New Zealand (pictured)