Romance scams are on the rise, and these shameless grifts cost consumers more money than other kind of internet fraud.
Some 3,889 online dating-related fraud incidents were reported, resulting in a record loss of £39m.
Commander Chris Greany, the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime at City of London Police, said criminals target those who they consider vulnerable and more likely to fall for scams: “Our intelligence tells us that people aged 50-59 are the most likely to become a victim of dating fraud and therefore need to be especially careful when going online in search of a partner.” Follow our tips to discover the danger of online dating and how to protect yourself.
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Nothing sells quite like a sad story, especially if that sad story stars someone who seems oh-so-perfect for you.
That's why most online dating scams involve some sort of problem the scammer has recently overcome or is trying to get through.
In the past you met your partner through friends, at work or from socialising, now we meet people using apps, social media and dating websites.
Meeting someone online is very different, you might meet someone virtually who lives in a different city or country, and because you don’t meet face to face you build a connection through emails, messages and chats.
Some say they are recently widowed, divorced, dealing with a sick family member, or grieving a loss.
But more often than not, scammers say they're stuck in another country and need the financial support of someone wonderful like you so they can buy supplies or purchase a ticket home.
This type of communication means you are unfortunately vulnerable to fraud.