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How to report an online dating scammer

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Around 7.8 million UK adults used online dating sites in 2016, up from just 100,000 in 2000.

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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.“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.A new report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has found that last year, singles were conned out of £39 million by fraudsters they’d met on dating sites and apps.Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.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.

If you find the picture is a fake, report the profile to the dating site immediately.

He presents himself as a widower, with a degree and of average height (5’10”).

He is most likely to have a career in engineering, has no interest in politics, a full head of light brown hair, and the photos are often taken at a slight distance.

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.

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.