Internet dating and finding love through social networking sites is booming – but this popular and modern method of finding a partner is being exploited by criminals looking to con people out of their money.
For victims, the cost is emotional as well as financial as they feel devastated after forming a bond with someone they believed had genuine feelings for them.
Romance Fraud has risen by more than a fifth last year to 3,100 cases with victims losing an average of £11,000, latest figures reveal.
READ MORE: Cyber criminals preying on human error
But reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg, as experts say many more go unreported.
Det Ch Insp Andrew Fyfe, head of crime at the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, says: “People taken in by romance fraud are usually the most vulnerable and badly affected victims of fraud.
“Many of these people are lonely and desperate for romance and companionship, only to find themselves completely fleeced.
“It does not matter what profession you are in or what stage of life you are at, you can become a victim of dating fraud.”
l See tomorrow’s Lancashire Post for the link between the internet and terrorism.