Around 7.8 million UK adults used online dating sites in 2016, up from just 100,000 in 2000.But just as dating app users are at an all-time high, so is the number of people becoming victims of online dating fraud.
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.
She is 5’6”, has never been married, and has long brown hair and blue eyes.
Photos used are often selfies of her wearing skimpy vest tops showing lots of cleavage.
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.
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.
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.