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I Online dating scams dupe 200 000 study finds searching lady who wants transvetite

When they talked on the phone he would tell her about a woman he met online and occasionally sent money to. Even though her father never met the woman in person, she would profess her love for him through s and ask him to send her money to feed her and her daughter. Angie told her father that he was being conned, but he would not listen and continued to send the woman money anyway.

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More thanpeople in Britain may have been conned by fraudsters posing as would-be romantic partners on internet dating sites, according to the first study examining the potential scale of the problem.

Anti-fraud groups have warned for some time about scams, in which criminals create a false identity — often an army officer on active service, explaining an inability to meet in person — and develop a close online intimacy with a victim, who is then asked for cash to help their pd suitor out of a crisis. It had long been suspected that official figures for such crimes greatly under-represented their prevalence, largely because many victims feel too embarrassed or hurt to go to the police, or never realise they have been conned.

Extrapolating this to the online UK population means more thanpotential victims.

Monica Whitty, a psychologist and professor of contemporary media at Leicester University, said that the pool of those targeted was likely to be greater still as it did not include people who realised what was happening before they lost money and those who still did not realise they had been conned. There has been an assumption that victims tend to be middle-aged women.

However, said Whitty, targets were from both genders and all age groups.

The scams often begin with an online dating site profile carrying a notably attractive photo, taken from elsewhere on the internet, and a description of someone in a remote, hard-to-contact location — whether a military base in Afghanistan or, to tempt male victims, a UK or US nurse at a small foreign hospital. The use of almost exclusively online communication — the criminals occasionally resort to phone calls but these are rare given the extra difficulty of explaining away an accent — can actually accelerate intimacy, Whitty said, allowing victims to project their own hopes and desires on to a warm and empathic correspondent.

Lots of people get in touch with someone through a dating site, meet them a few weeks later and this person doesn't live up to their expectations.

With an online relationship this never happens. The faked romances can last for a long time — the longest the researchers heard of was five years — with each criminal juggling a series of parallel relationships.


At some point comes the request for urgent financial assistance, often to help them out of supposed difficulty. If this happens, they'll ask for money. It's like a clever marketing ploy. Very few cases are seemingly reported.

The survey, covering more than 2, people, found that just over half were aware that such romance scams existed. While this was a positiveColin Woodcock of Soca said, ificant s of people remained at risk.


Soca has compiled a list of tell-tale s for people to look out for if they suspect their internet suitor is a con artist. When men are targeted, the other party often tends to be a nurse working in a remote country. A fondness for Windows Messenger or similar applications: aware that dating sites are increasingly conscious of such cons, the perpetrators can be keen to continue their wooing elsewhere. But the con artists tend to select particularly alluring physical alter egos, which they borrow from elsewhere on the internet.

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A quick adoption of a pet name: if, by the secondyou are being addressed as "dearest fluffy bunny", beware — it could be a fraudster looking to establish instant intimacy. Online dating.

This article is more than 9 years old. Online dating scams, in which criminals create a false identity and then ask their suitor for cash, are on the rise, warns the organised crime watchdog.

Online dating scams dupe , study finds

Photograph: Alamy. Peter Walker. The researchers had been "shocked" at the s involved, she said. Reuse this content.