UK dating fraud victims lost £33,5 million last year
Action Fraud, UK’s national fraud and Internet crime reporting centre, and the City of London Police have started a Twitter campaign with the aim of teaching people about thirteen common fraud myths and the actual reality behind them.
The first type of fraud they addressed regards online dating.
“Many people believe that those joining dating websites are vetted before they are allowed to have a membership; however this is very rarely the case. The reality is that most dating websites allow people to sign-up to the website without vetting checks, which means that fraudsters are able to use the website to target people online and defraud them,” they noted, and shared that, in 2014, Action Fraud received reports from 3,543 people that have been victimized by dating fraudsters.
All together, the money these people lost to the fraudster reached a little over £33,5 million (over $51 million). But, we also have to keep in mind that these are just the losses of people who contacted the organization – there are likely many others out there who have fallen for the scheme and are too ashamed to talk about it and report it.
“Dating fraudsters are often particularly convincing and if the person also thinks that they have already been vetted by the dating website, it makes it even easier for the fraudster to manipulate their victim,” they pointed out.
“Always be cautions about the people you meet online, especially if they start asking money to help a family member, to visit you or pay medical bills. Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust,” they advised.
In the following days, they will be addressing frauds like phone number spoofing (both when it comes to calls and text messages), voice phishing, inadvertent money laundering (money mules), social engineering, and more.