Scamwatch: dating website fraud

Jess Bown
Warning of OnLine Dating
Warning of OnLine Dating

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, online dating fraud that involves criminals duping website users by posing as people looking for love.

How does it work?

Dating website fraud can take many different forms. But it always has the same result.

The person being targeted is asked to send money to the fraudster they have been chatting with online, for example to cover the cost of them travelling to a meet up or to pay for a relative's medical blls.

In a recent, high profile case, women on the site were persuaded to had over large sums of money after making contact with fraudsters who set up "attractive" fake profiles and gained their trust before claiming they needed cash to release an inheritance trapped in India.

The scam cost the 12 women taken in around £220,000. However, the men behind the fraud have now been caught and put behind bars.

How can I avoid being caught out?

It is important to remember that anyone you chat to online could be lying about his or her identity. And if he or she seems too good to be true, they probably are.

Signs that you may be being targeted by fraudsters include that the person is based overseas (although someone in another country can always tell you he or she lives in the UK) and that they want you to communicate via email rather than the dating website.

And if you are asked to send money or hand over your credit card or current account details, for example, you can be pretty sure it is a scam.

A spokeswoman for said: "You should never send money to anyone you meet online."

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
If you have been caught out by dating website fraud, the first thing you should do is break off contact with the fraudster.

Then report the scam to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040), as well as the online dating agency through which you met the person who has defrauded you.

If you have given out any account details, you should also contact your bank as soon as possible.

Popular Dating Site Accused of Being Front for Prostitution
Popular Dating Site Accused of Being Front for Prostitution

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