Not the language of love

We carry on this week looking into the findings and subsequent report produced by Action Fraud following growing numbers of dating site members reporting being duped.

In conjunction with Action Fraud’s report, the UK National Fraud Authority have documented 730 reported criminal acts of this nature in little over a year. However, they believe this is the tip of the iceberg and the £8M total of those crimes represents only a small amount of the actual amount the dating site community is being swindled out of.

It is quite believable that many members who have been conned are not even aware of it. If they realise after money has changed hands, the matchmaking site administration can do very little to help other than report the behind the scenes details of the fraudulent dating site member to the relevant authorities, but are ineffectual at retrieving any ill-gotten monies; other than taking the responsibility for making their membership aware of the possibility, they have little other control over member contact, especially if the conversation is taken off-site.

These villains become extremely proficient in a very short space of time; evidence suggests that multiple false dating site profiles can be ‘owned’ by an individual, who, in turn, is working for a larger crime syndicate.

There are clues, however, to spot a fraudulent contact message in the language itself. One of the aspects that should start ringing alarm bells is the syntax – the actual words used.

Especially for UK dating site members who are allegedly being approached by a fellow Brit, the clue can come in a couple of ways. The majority of English on the internet is aimed at the US market, as the largest audience for that medium. When you start seeing words like organise spelt ‘organize’, trousers being referred to as ‘pants’, holiday homes as ‘condos’ or if they are talking money in terms of dollars start to raise your guard.

Another ruse, especially when trying to get you to leave the safety of the dating website domain, is to state that they are working in the oil or gas industry out in the Middle East. Even worse, they charade as soldiers working out in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The ‘women’ often front their dating site profile with a job working as a nurse or carer stationed in a far-flung region of the world associated with poverty and/or charity. Whichever of these imaginary positions your fraudulent suitor holds, they are targeting your sympathy, leading up to the money they will ask for to ‘tide them over’ or as a ‘stop-gap’ until their wages make it through whichever fictitious hold-up they can conjure.

You shouldn’t anyway, but if any of those scenarios ring a bell, put your wallet or purse away and report the profile to the dating website administration, immediately.

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