Online dating scams dupe 200,000 Britons, study finds

Posted in: Legal & Security at 28/09/2011 19:22

More than 200,000 people in Britain may have been conned by fraudsters posing as would-be romantic partners on internet dating sites, according to the first study examining the potential scale of the problem.

Anti-fraud groups have warned for some time about scams, in which criminals create a false identity - often an army officer on active service, explaining an inability to meet in person - and develop a close online intimacy with a victim, who is then asked for cash to help their presumed suitor out of a crisis.

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'Bad romance' hurts thousands of net singles
More than 200,000 people in the UK may have fallen victim to criminals who woo them online to steal their money.

The first formal study of so-called romance scams found that they were far more common than previously thought.

Among those surveyed by researchers at the University of Leicester, one in 50 knew someone who had been a victim.

Perpetrators typically set up a fake profile, pretend to enter into an online relationship then ask for cash to help with financial problems.

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