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They're in West Africa, Eastern Europe and it's very difficult for British law enforcement to take action against them in those jurisdictions,” Steve Profitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud explains.
And a lot of the time, you’re not just talking to one person behind each profile - you could be exchanging messages with a circle of fraudsters acting together, according to KIS Finance.
Jane advises meeting up with someone sooner rather than later - more often than not, scammers are based abroad and won’t be able to meet you.
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.
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Not only is available in more than 25 countries and eight languages — but it also has more than 30 million members, sees more than 13.5 million visitors a month, and is responsible for more romantic connections than any other dating site.
Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.
One of the most common techniques is to build up trust with the person by messaging for weeks or even months before suddenly having an emergency - the fake person being mugged but their daughter needing urgent surgery, for example - and asking for money.
Around 7.8 million UK adults used online dating sites in 2016, up from just 100,000 in 2000.
Not long after, Jane discovered an ex-colleague nearby had been scammed by the same man at the same time and she’d had a very lucky escape.
So what can you do to avoid being a victim of an online dating scam?
Photos used are often selfies of her wearing skimpy vest tops showing lots of cleavage.
Jane*, a middle-aged woman from Warwickshire, had a lucky escape a few years ago when she very nearly handed over a sizeable sum of money to an online scammer who did in fact claim to be an engineer.