International online dating scams
(We don’t know the statistics for women.) Although it’s often very difficult to know whether or not someone is married, here are four tips to help you spot the warning signs: Some online dating scams aren’t dates at all, but a scam to hit you up with marketing emails or other spam.This annoying online danger usually happens when you first create your online profile and start chatting with other members. Don’t give out your email address before you’re certain of who you’re dealing with.“A lot of the online dating fraudsters we know are abroad.They're in West Africa, Eastern Europe and it's very difficult for British law enforcement to take action against them in those jurisdictions,” Steve Profitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud explains.
Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.
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.
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.
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.