The money pit of online dating fraud

There seems so much to take in when someone new approaches you on your dating site, it is easy to see why many members miss the glaring signs that should be telling you ‘you’re being set up for a fall’.

However, as Action Fraud have recently reported, backed by Soca and many other leading crime and academic investigations, there are indicators that should draw your attention to the fact that your new online love may not be the real deal.

Grooming is a massive part of the process. If some of the signs reported in this series so far have pricked your conscience somewhat, but you think you are safe because you have a long-term relationship with your distant partner, take heed!

These dating site confidence tricksters are in it for the long haul. The investigations have recorded relationships lasting for five years before the final sting, all the while gently building up confidence via flattery and character history, altogether plausible in the eyes of the smitten dating site member.

Along the way, there may be requests for small gifts, such as replacement phones to stay in touch, or bolder requests for more up to date pc equipment so that they can prolong their long-distance dating site relationship. By submitting to these requests you’re confirming to the conman that you have disposable income; they will not relent until they have fleeced you up to the point you evetually realise what is happening. You may have spent £1,000’s before you even realise that Sonia the carer from Singapore is actually Mattheu from Nigeria.

Once they have your confidence, they may even ask for money to enable travel – this could be to meet you to develop the relationship, visit a relative who has the money repay you for what they have leant so far or a job interview so they can start to earn the money to give you back your kind, heartfelt donations. They may even give you a number to contact their UK relative whom your funds will facilitate visiting – it is a number set up to transfer to Africa, or wherever the operation is based, yet assures the infatuated dating site member, who needs little further convincing, that the story holds water.

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