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He says: ‘I tried to meet someone the conventional way by going out with friends, but got nowhere so I tried a dating website.’He soon stumbled across the profile of a woman called ‘Kerry’, who resembled someone he had known years before, who had moved to Canada.
They began chatting online, but it was not long before she suggested they move their communications off the website.
Their aim can be as simple as to persuade a customer to switch to another ‘better’ website and take out a new subscription.
This can be either a legitimate website that pays commission for new leads or a fake website gathering the cash for itself.
A dating fraud campaign launched today aims to stamp out these ‘romance scams’ – where dates turn out to be nothing more than fraudsters who destroy people’s lives both financially and emotionally.
The crime cost victims a collective £39million last year, a rise of nearly 50 per cent since 2015.
The relationship made me happy.’ About four months later Kerry, who claimed to be 45, began to request money, initially for an air fare from Ghana, where she said she lived.
David says: ‘I agreed and sent money through the Money Gram service at a post office.’The use of a money transfer service is another crafty ruse, as payees cannot be easily traced.
Julie, then 47, believed he was from the American Midwest, a career soldier and an animal-lover who was fond of travel and looking for a long-term relationship.
He says: ‘I was encouraged to take up a hobby and have been ballroom dancing several nights a week.
It has been great as therapy and for making friends.‘I’ve only just started to be able to trust people again.
Romantics are preparing for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday but Cupid’s arrow has a costly outcome for an increasing number of single people searching for a soulmate.
The booming £12billion online dating market is proving rich fodder for fraudsters who regularly trawl websites to hoodwink thousands of victims out of millions of pounds every year.