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A new report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has found that last year, singles were conned out of £39 million by fraudsters they’d met on dating sites and apps.Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.
The male profile is in his late 40s (48 is the most common age) with a high income.Women are usually nurses, models, charity or UNICEF workers or antique dealers.After they establish some lovely correspondence with you, fall in love and maybe even send a couple of cheap presents, they will either: a) be almost on their way to meet you, but something will happen to them: they will get robbed, beaten, get into the hospital, or other misfortune will happen and of course you will be their only contact to ask for financial help, or: b) tell you that their employer pays them with Money Orders or checks, and they can't cash them in Nigeria.And it’s not just particularly vulnerable people who fall victim either.“[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.There is also a re-shipping scam, when they will ask you to re-ship goods for them.
These goods are purchased with stolen credit cards.And a lot of the time, you’re not just talking to one person behind each profile - you could be exchanging messages with a circle of fraudsters acting together, according to KIS Finance.Serious fraudsters sometimes even create further fake profiles and use them to be rude to you, all to make the main fake profile seem more desirable.usually involves this scheme: the scammers upload fake attractive photos, in most cases of white people.They pretend to be the foreign specialists working in Nigeria or Ghana (usually originally from US and UK, but it may also be Canada, Australia or any other European country).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.