Online Dating Fraud Cost Victims £39 Million in 2016

February 7, 2017 Posted in VPN Media by No Comments

Britain saw a record 3,889 victims who were conned into paying a total of 39 million pounds in the year 2016. At the root of this scam was online dating. Action Fraud, UK’s center for reporting cyber-crimes stated that it saw over 350 such reports, each month. On an average, each victim lost about 10,000 pounds.

The fraudsters met their victims on online dating sites and came to know more about them by studying and investigating their profiles. They then established friendship by using this information to get close to them. After some time they would ask the victims for money in the name of some emotive reasons. They would quote stories of personal difficulties and struggle or ask for money to come and meet the victim in the UK. They would then go on to coerce the victims into sending them money.

Tell-tale signs of romance scams

Be wary of people whom you have met on dating sites, who want to interact on Instant Messengers (IM) instead of using the chat services provided by the dating website. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure online safety:

  • Be careful about the kind of personal information you provide online. Fraudsters can use this data to piece together information about you and your lifestyle. They are going to use it later to manipulate you into sending them money.
  • The police can help investigate and provide necessary support, but often they cannot get your money back.
  • Do not communicate with people you have met online using IM and texts. This helps them run without leaving a trail which can be used to track them. This is also one of the biggest signs of the person being a fraud.
  • They cover their tracks using masked IP addresses and unregistered phone numbers.
  • Never transfer money to someone online whom you have never met. This helps them receive the money and vanish without a trace.
  • The police do not have jurisdiction in the countries where these fraudsters are located which makes it difficult for them to take further action.

The North Yorkshire lady who lost 300,000 pounds

Of the many victims, a North Yorkshire lady is one, who now faces bankruptcy after been conned 300,000 pounds. The lady, a businesswoman and a single mother, met ‘Marcelo’ an Italian from Manchester, who was supposedly in Turkey for work. Marcelo won the lady’s trust and persuaded her to move from chatting on the dating website to an IM service. He soon began asking her for money under various pretexts. She sent him 3,650 pounds initially, which soon escalated to calls to pay other expenses as well. She reluctantly kept sending money to the man thinking that he might actually be a genuine person, but now she has no hope of getting her money back.

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