It seems a high number of lonely-hearts are becoming the victims of malicious online fraud scams, according to the Guardian 200 000 Brits have been conned by fraudsters who claim to be on the lookout for love. This shocking statistic indicates just how much of a problem online fraud is proving to be. It seems con artists know no limits when it comes to getting their hands on some cash, using dating websites to sweep victims off their feet before asking for money or expensive gifts.
The scams aren’t necessarily a short-term process either; the longest dating scam allegedly lasted for five years. They take time to earn the victims’ trusts to the extent that handing money or presents over may not seem irrational. They forge a relationship with victims, often offering a virtual shoulder to cry on and share problems with. Some of the victims have reportedly even continued to communicate with the scammer after their cover’s been blown due to the “comfort” they’ve provided them.
Dating websites are aware of these scammers who are creating bogus accounts and luring in vulnerable people who are lonely and looking for love. Despite their awareness of the problem, it can take dating websites time to identify a bogus account and by this time the scammer has usually contacted multiple victims and moved them to anonymous messaging services such as Hotmail and Yahoo Messenger where new email addresses can be easily created.
How to Spot an Online Dating Scam
In order to reduce the numbers of online dating scams, it’s important for users of dating sites to be able to identify a scammer and report them to protect themselves and the rest of the online dating community. There are numerous ways to detect a dating scam, and although not all fraudsters are the same, their methods are typically rather similar.