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Photos used in dating scams

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions.

They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.

They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction.

Around 7.8 million UK adults used online dating sites in 2016, up from just 100,000 in 2000.

But just as dating app users are at an all-time high, so is the number of people becoming victims of online dating fraud.

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But then they suddenly need money for rent too, then food, then medical fees, and it can quickly escalate.

Nancy*, a 47-year-old single mother from North Yorkshire was conned out of over £350,000 that way: “I wasn't comfortable, and then I got so far in I couldn't get myself out, and I didn't want to walk away having lost £50,000 or what-have-you, so you keep going in the hope that you're wrong and this person is genuine,” she explained to the BBC.

Nancy is now facing bankruptcy, and although her case is extreme, the average victim of online dating fraud loses £10,000 according to Action Fraud.

“A lot of the online dating fraudsters we know are abroad.

They're in West Africa, Eastern Europe and it's very difficult for British law enforcement to take action against them in those jurisdictions,” Steve Profitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud explains.

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