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Spot & Avoid Online Dating Scammers – DON’T be a victim

Dating website users ‘conned out of millions’

Online dating scammers, – how to spot them and how to avoid them!

In the latest of one of several heart-breaking cases a women has been conned out of £1.6 million in a series of targeted dating scams.  Could it be you?

Expert police teams dealing with fraud and cyber-crime report that while the number of romance scams they’re investigating are fewer than other internet-based hoaxes, the financial losses which people suffer are far greater.

In a sophisticated con lasting 10 months, London Met Police have issued a warning after the victim, believing she was talking online to a successful engineer  turned out to be an unscrupulous scamming gang. The two men caught by the Mets cybercrime unit were sentenced to 3 years each.

With reports of online dating scams rising by more than 30%, the cyber-crime and fraud team have investigated the loss of £4 million pounds taken from 100 victims ruthlessly manipulated by men and women declaring their love for them.  It’s something that can affect people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. In another recent case a normally vigilant victim said that despite ‘my common sense’  telling me that something wasn’t right in his story, I sent three lots of money to a man claiming to be a US Marine living in the United States.

 

online dating scammers don't be a victim

Don’t be a victim avoid and spot online dating scammers

Do you fit their profile? Who’s most likely to become a victim?

Think you’ve found your perfect partner online who seems to be too good to be true? Action Fraud advise this fits a typical profile of a dating scammer – then it’s likely that they aren’t who they say they are and in reality members of a criminal gang working together to target people more likely to have money.  Once they’ve gained your trust, they’ll ask for money for a range of well-rehearsed emotional reasons; all carefully crafted to pull at your heart strings. They’re very clever and very experienced in manipulating those of us normally streetwise and sensible, so unless we’re aware of how they operate, any of us could fall victim to their tactics.  

 

Recognise a scammer, arm yourself with the information you need.

Although anyone looking for a partner or love online is vulnerable, fortunately you can reduce the likelihood of being caught up in an online dating scam by understanding how they operate.  Understanding the profile and tactics of a typical dating scammer will arm you with the information you need to recognise scammers if you come across one and avoid being their next victim!

Online Dating scammers – how they operate

ACTION FRAUD the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre have used their experience to piece together information on a typical  dating scammer, how they work and the tactics they use.

Everyday tactics of an online dating scammer. What they’ll say & what they’ll do. 

  • They’re more likely to be from overseas or may be UK based but tell you they’re overseas as the last thing they’ll want to do is meet up with you. They don’t normally pick local victims who can track them down.  They’ll also want to communicate with you through your own e mail address and/or texts straight away, rather than through the more vigilant dating sites or chat room where you met.
  • Very gradually they’ll work to develop a long-distance relationship through emails, texting and phone calls. They ask you lots of questions about yourself but don’t tell you much about them. They don’t answer basic questions about where they live and work. As the relationship develops, the exchanges become more intimate.
  • As you become more familiar with them they’ll probably send you their photograph and give you some kind of pet name or use endearing terms such as ‘darling’. After time they may then ask you for a naked photos and/or even suggest you perform personal acts in front of a webcam, (particularly if you’re female).
  • Once the fraudsters are confident that you have enough sympathy and desire for them, they’ll start asking you for money, normally small amounts to start with. They’ll tell you about a problem they are experiencing and ask you to help out by sending money.
  • Some typical scenarios they’ve use are that they may have arranged to visit you but need money to pay travel costs, visa costs etc, or they’ve paid for a plane ticket which they will say has been stolen or they tell you that a family member or someone else they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment.
  • If you’ve sent intimate pictures, or they’ve recorded personal webcam contacts, they’ll blackmail you. They’ll also threaten to send the films or photos to your family, friends and work colleagues if you don’t give them the money they ask for.
  • Once you send them money once, they’ll keep coming back, providing more reasons to send them more and more money.

Protect yourself against dating fraud

Find out how to identify an online dating scammer. 9 easy ways to check out absolutely anyone you’re not sure of.

IDENTIFIED A DATING SCAMMER? REPORT THEM HERE