Not only cougars who have been fleeced

This week we are expanding the overview that Action Fraud have recently published, detailing scam artists letters and communications to UK dating site members in which they attempt to part them with their hard earned cash.

Combined efforts of Soca and English Universities have determined that as many as 200,000 Brits may have fell foul of the ruse. With reported individual sums ranging from £50 to £240,000 finding their ways to fraudulent accounts overseas, this perhaps gives us an insight to the amount we are talking about. It puts the total Sir Terry and Pudsey raised to shame, in comparison.

We continue our report by breaking down further aspects that can help you identify when someone is angling to reach into your bank account by tugging at your heartstrings.

This may sound a little harsh, but if you’re a middle-aged woman and a twenty-something gorgeous young gent approaches you out of the blue, what are you going to think? Unless you’re on a cougar dating site, with perhaps millions of women more his own age to choose from on your site, are you really the object of his heart’s desire?

We use the original perceived ‘target-group’ of these conmen, middle-aged women, because this was the age-group and gender those conducting the investigation expected to find at the root of the problem – lonely housewives with a bit put away, feeling lonely and making themselves easy targets with flattery and confidence trickery on high-end dating sites.

However, this was proved not to be the case; individuals from all age-groups, both sexes and all sexual preferences fell foul of the blue-eyed soldier or pouting super-model who wanted to flee her evil captors and ‘make home’ in Western Europe.

The reality is that these organised gangs create multiple online identities, downloading photos of ‘pretty’ people from the internet and using that picture as a front – whilst you’re dazzled, looking into their eyes, their hand is metaphorically reaching into your back pocket or purse unlocking your bank account.

This should change in the very near future as ‘online passports’ are integrated into dating websites; for UK dating site members, Trusted Faces will be a welcome relief as your online identity can be verified by a mug-shot taken at a UK Post Office and uploaded for all to see. In the meantime, as this will not happen overnight, beware if someone who you would otherwise consider ‘out of your league’ approaches you out of the blue on your online dating platform, trying to schmooze you away from the site with sweet-talk.

Keep it real. Stick to the site, ask them to prove their identity and never, ever give them information that could jeopardise your financial security.