Dating fraud is estimated to have affected some 200,000 people in the UK. A recent study that has been published by the University of Leicester has suggested that the number of people who are becoming the victims of dating fraud are much higher than expected. The study asked 2,000 people various questions about dating fraud, over half of them new it existed and one in every fifty admitted that they knew someone who had been a victim.
Action Fraud works to prevent fraud against consumers and they have reported that less than 600 people have reported than they have been victimized in 2010 and 2011. Monica Whitty from the University of Leicester has said that, “The data we have got from this study clearly indicated that the number of crimes being reported is far below the number that are actually being reported. This confirms suspicions by law enforcement that the crime was being significantly under reported.”
There are several different scams out there but one of the most popular is the con artist setting up an account, pursuing someone and once they have formed a ‘connection’ something happens to the victim and they contact their new ‘partner’ and the request money. Once the money has been sent the con artist disappears. The authors of the study said that this form of scam is particularly hard on the victim because of the personal aspect involved.
Whitty has said, “The victims are struck with two blows here and the hardest might not be the financial one, they will also feel as if they have lost a real romantic connection with someone. We suspect that the reason victims are failing to report these crimes is because they are ashamed and embarrassed about the situation. New ways to find out who has been a victim of this type of crime need to be established.”