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And a lot of the time, you’re not just talking to one person behind each profile - you could be exchanging messages with a circle of fraudsters acting together, according to KIS Finance.
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.
She is 5’6”, has never been married, and has long brown hair and blue eyes.
Photos used are often selfies of her wearing skimpy vest tops showing lots of cleavage.
After a couple of months, he said he had to go to the Middle East for an oil rig refurbishment and even sent Jane pictures of him in his hardhat on the rig.
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.
So what can you do to avoid being a victim of an online dating scam?
Jane advises meeting up with someone sooner rather than later - more often than not, scammers are based abroad and won’t be able to meet you.
The female profile is in her 20s (29 was the most common age), and also has a high income.
She presents herself as a student, also with a degree and no interest in politics.
If you’re suspicious, turn to Google: search their name and “dating scam” or do a Google image search to see whether they’ve taken someone else’s picture or one that’s easily available online.