If you want to know the truth ask a Policeman

“If you want to know the time ask a Policeman” is a saying that has been around since Victorian times and in the modern world “If you want to know the truth ask a Policeman”, might well be the very best of advice of advice if you currently are participating in online dating and particularly if you are worried about your security or the fact that possibly you could be dealing with someone who is not genuine – according to a recent article on the City of London Police’s own website.

Sadly this is now one of the fastest growing crimes globally and although crime statistics have shown an improving trend in the UK, online dating fraud is on a massive upward curve currently and unfortunately the UK leads the world in this type of crime with a heart breaking £24.5 million having been lost to crime in the last year in the UK alone and 2,800 people having been victims in 2013 alone. With the biggest victim losing a whopping great £850,000 in trying to find love online.

According to the City of London Police website , statistics show that:

  • The average amount lost is £8,750 per person
  • 55% of all reported crimes came from 40-59 year olds and 63% from females
  • 16% (457) of reported victims parted with £10,000 or more, with 49 people reporting to have lost more than £100,000
  • The top five countries where fraudsters purport to be from are England, followed by the United States, Nigeria, Ghana and Russia 

I’m sure that most people would agree that these are horrifying statistics and almost all dating scams stem from online dating websites, whereby innocent parties are conned by criminals using fake personal profiles and photographs, luring people in slowly and skillfully until they have built a strong rapport with them. But on occasions without them actually meeting.

Once trust has been established the criminal gangs involved begin to request money under the guise of various false scenarios. These are often a medical problem having occurred for either themselves or a family member that requires substantial funding, them claiming to be military personnel based abroad who require funds for emergency flights home or on occasions early discharge from the forces. They also can use business ventures with exceptional potential that require funding, business ventures that are in trouble.

Then in other instances, as the online relationship develops and deepens, the email exchanges between the two parties become more intimate and daring and the victims might be asked to share intimate pictures of themselves or perform sexual acts in front of a webcam. These images or videos are then used by the criminals to blackmail the victim into handing over money. So fraud then has escalated into blackmail and extortion.

Detective Superintendent Pete O’Doherty, Director of the NFIB, at the City of London Police said:“As more and more people go online in search of new friendships and relationships the last thing they may expect is to be targeted and exploited by calculating criminals. Unfortunately for some this will be their ultimate experience of internet dating.

Is there an alternative? Well yes there is here at Searchmate, where every member is interviewed, ID checked using photographic evidence and vetted, prior to being allowed to join. This ensure that our members are fishing in a much cleaner pool of people than on an online dating site and using the services of our experienced Personal Matchmaking team is another sure fire way of staying out of harms way, with people who we know well and are genuinely searching for a partner, to be part of an exclusive, long term relationship.

Ring us today for more details on 0800 644 4160 or complete our contact form and we will be back to you, usually within 24 working hours.

More information about Dating fraud on the City of London Police website can be accessed by clicking here.