That's a small fraction of the number of online encounters, to be sure.
Seven million UK residents are currently registered with online dating sites, according to the report.
“That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.” Eventually a pitch for money comes.
Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.
It's also increasingly risky when it comes to rape.
Rapes related to online dating increased by nearly a factor of six -- from 33 in 2009 to 184 in 2014 -- according to a report released Monday by the UK's National Crime Agency.
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In 2015, the last year for which data is available, consumers lost more than 0 million this way.
(It is estimated that only 15 percent of fraud victims report their losses to law enforcement, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can't get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs romancescams.org, a watchdog site and online support group.
According to the Consumer Reports 2016 Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says Unit Chief David Farquhar from the Financial Crimes Section of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) who specializes in cyber-related crimes.
Choose a friend or someone from your church or community who is less emotionally invested than you are. And remember: If the request for funds is indeed a scam, it may be difficult if not impossible to ever recover the money.
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