Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions.They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.“A lot of the online dating fraudsters we know are abroad.They're in West Africa, Eastern Europe and it's very difficult for British law enforcement to take action against them in those jurisdictions,” Steve Profitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud explains.Jane*, a middle-aged woman from Warwickshire, had a lucky escape a few years ago when she very nearly handed over a sizeable sum of money to an online scammer who did in fact claim to be an engineer.Her interest was initially piqued when he seemed to have a similar background and heritage to her and they chatted for almost two months, often exchanging messages for at least two hours an evening.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.
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.
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.
There was only one thing that seemed a little odd to Jane: his syntax occasionally seemed a little unnatural for a native English-speaker, and when they spoke on the phone, something about his voice didn’t seem to match his pictures.
Jane Googled him and found what looked like an authentic Linked In page and social media profiles as well as information on the projects he claimed to be working on, which seemed legitimate.