Fraud through online dating

Nancy is now facing bankruptcy, and although her case is extreme, the average victim of online dating fraud loses £10,000 according to Action Fraud.“A lot of the online dating fraudsters we know are abroad.“[It’s] not the case that stupid people fall for romance scams - they can be very clever,” Professor Monica Whitty, a cyber-psychologist, explains. Scamalytics, a company which runs anti-scammer software for a number of the major dating sites, are trying to reduce online dating fraud by creating profiles of the average male and female con artist.By analysing the top 3,000 scammer profiles (that is, those they’ve come across most frequently in profiles blocked by their software in the last year) they’ve discovered what constitutes the ‘most attractive’ female and male propositions to those targeted by romance scammers.It was only when her money transfer was blocked due to a security alert around the man’s name that she realised something was wrong.Not long after, Jane discovered an ex-colleague nearby had been scammed by the same man at the same time and she’d had a very lucky escape.

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The female profile is in her 20s (29 was the most common age), and also has a high income.If you find the picture is a fake, report the profile to the dating site immediately.Watch out for inconsistencies and repetition too - if you’re talking to a team of scammers, they’re bound to forget what’s previously been said and slip-up occasionally.But then they suddenly need money for rent too, then food, then medical fees, and it can quickly escalate.Nancy*, a 47-year-old single mother from North Yorkshire was conned out of over £350,000 that way: “I wasn't comfortable, and then I got so far in I couldn't get myself out, and I didn't want to walk away having lost £50,000 or what-have-you, so you keep going in the hope that you're wrong and this person is genuine,” she explained to the BBC.

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