According to research, hundreds of singletons have been scammed out of money from online dating sites where people groom their ‘victim’ and eventually build an online relationship to steal money from them. The desperate daters are sucked in by the romance and their dreams of meeting the right person have finally come true, but in reality, the person on the other end only has one aim: to take as much money as possible from the dater. The scammer tests the waters on online dating sites to seek out the desperate and needy, and then pounces. Months of emails, chats and pictures exchanged, and the victim is truly lost in love and is asked to send money to the other.
This has caused £37bn in scammed money over the years and it is through gifts, aeroplane tickets, perfume, clothing and if they are struggling to repay their debts. It’s not just money that the scammer takes, they force the victim into stripping on the webcam, which then gets sold to adult sites and will do anything just to stay in the e-relationship. Both men and women are being scammed by dating site scammers, and it’s often people that live abroad that genuinely cannot meet up with the other. This means that the con-artist can work their magic in taking as much money as possible for bills, hospital costs and other sob-stories that make the victim pay up.
The victims are often so ashamed of the ordeal that they don’t report the crime but the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is clamping down on the scammers and helping those that have fallen foul to the scams. Many people don’t realise they are falling for the scam until they are told or it’s too late and they themselves are lounging serious debt.