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Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in, either using a fictional name or falsely adopting the identities of real people.
Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and usually suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.
It’s like handing over cash – you won’t be able to get it back if it turns out to be a scam.
Don’t be afraid to tell people you trust that you’re talking to someone online – more than six million UK adults visit dating sites each month. The objective viewpoint they can offer is crucial if you’re emotionally involved.
If you’ve been scammed for money from someone you met online, inform the website immediately. You should also report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre.
Our research found that almost two thirds of fake profiles reported to dating websites are blocked or removed.
Common fake profiles will use the details of trusted individuals, such as military personnel, aid workers, medical professionals or professionals working abroad, as well as pictures from other legitimate websites.
Be alert for anybody you’re talking to who disappears from the site and you suspect may later have reappeared under a different name.