Monday, May 2, 2016

REVEALED: Online dating fraudsters con lonely Brits out of £27 million

A STAGGERING £27million has been conned out of lonely Brits looking for love online in the past year.

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DANGER: 'Callous' crooks are preying on lonely Brits' hearts

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting victims through dating websites to hand over hard cash.

And now dating experts have revealed the UK hotspots where singletons are most likely to be hit in the pocket.

Londoners experienced the most heartbreak with more than 700 cases reported.

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HEARTLESS: Brits were conned out of £27million over the past year

But Hampshire and Essex were next on the hit list with 267 and 247 cases.

High-profile cases include a businesswoman who as conned out of £1.6million.

The single mother from Hillingdon, north-west London, believed she was funding hospital bills, a project in Benin and releasing an inheritance.

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TRAP: Dating experts warn people are less aware of these scams in Home Counties

But it was a trap set up in the form of a dating profile by Ife Oko and Olusegun Agbaje to steal her cash.

Ojo, 31, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, received a 34-month jail term in January after the pair admitted conspiracy to defraud.

Agbaje, 43, from Hornchurch, Essex, was jailed for 32 months.

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LOVE: High-profile cases include a businesswoman conned out of £1.6million

“Don't be so keen to hand over your life savings”

Dating expert


Dating expert and author Munir Bello said: "In the Home Counties people are less aware of these scams making them more vulnerable.

"Combine that with the reduced choice in the dating pool due to smaller population size and it's easier to manipulate their hopes if you seem like a good catch.

"If you've not gone on a date or even if you have, don't be so keen to hand over your life savings.

"Wait till the pheromones wear off and take a deep breath."

Brits from Kent and Surrey had almost as many cases as singletons in Greater Manchester.

But there were only 192 fraud cases in Scotland and 52 in Northern Ireland.

Detective superintendent Pete O'Doherty, of City of London Police, said: "Dating fraudsters are heartless criminals who mostly operate online to manipulate their victims into believing they've established a strong emotional bond.

"We never advise that you never send funds to someone you have never met. If you're in two minds always consult a trust friend or family member who will be able to view the situation objectively.

"Sharing information with the police will help us track down criminals who callously attempt to capitalise on people who are simply searching for love."

The full breakdown of figures:

London - more than 700
Hampshire - 267
Essex - 247
Greater Manchester - 225
Kent - 216
Surrey - 210
West Yorkshire - 198
Staffordshire - 146
Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and Lancashire - 145
Norfolk - 132
West Sussex -123
Scotland - 192
Northern Ireland - 52

Source: UK Daily Star

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