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She was all set to meet him at the airport when he suddenly messaged saying his funds had dried up and he needed £5,000.“I just couldn’t believe that was what he was saying,” Jane told .The male profile is in his late 40s (48 is the most common age) with a high income.
“[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.
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.
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.Photos used are often selfies of her wearing skimpy vest tops showing lots of cleavage.Jane*, a middle-aged woman from Warwickshire, had a lucky escape a few years ago when she very nearly handed over a sizeable sum of money to an online scammer who did in fact claim to be an engineer.But, not if you’re a member of Select Personal Introductions Dating Agency.We can increase your chances of meeting your life partner by a whopping 80% and happily boast hundred’s of engagements, marriages and new families as a direct result of our expertise and dating methods used.But just as dating app users are at an all-time high, so is the number of people becoming victims of online dating fraud.