And with each victim, they learn and improve their psychological technique. The scammers just need to find the right button to press.’ They will tell you they’re widowed, or divorced after their partner was unfaithful.

They may have raised a child alone or lost a child.

The pictures you were sent were most likely phony lifted from other websites.

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We strongly recommend, however, that if you think you’ve been victimized by a dating scam or any other online scam, file a complaint with our Internet Crime Complaint Center (

Before forwarding the complaints to the appropriate agencies, IC3 collates and analyzes the data—looking for common threads that could link complaints together and help identify the culprits. Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of an online dating scam.

They may have larger amounts of money to lose and subsequently be more prepared to act as a cautionary tale to others, but men and women, young and old, are equally likely to succumb to romantic fraud.

She is now able to stand back and see just how she was manipulated. He’d ask my favourite colour, what was on my bucket list, what countries I wanted to visit.

According to police, such fraud increased by 16 per cent in 2014-15, with recorded losses of more than £33 million.

Judith Lathlean, a 67-year-old, Oxford-educated professor, made headlines in December last year when she courageously revealed how she had paid £140,000 to a man she met on a dating site (but never met face to face).

In addition to losing your money to someone who had no intention of ever visiting you, you may also have unknowingly taken part in a money laundering scheme by cashing phony checks and sending the money overseas and by shipping stolen merchandise (the forwarded package).

In another recently reported dating extortion scam, victims usually met someone on an online dating site and then were asked to move the conversation to a particular social networking site, where the talk often turned intimate.

On the basis of just these scant facts, it seems incredible that a well-educated, successful and responsible woman would even consider handing over her life-savings to an apparent stranger – and yet chilling details from the trial hint at the sophisticated brainwashing involved.

Based on the secret techniques of pick-up artists, the book contains step-by-step instructions on how to ensnare a victim, such as ‘Select a Target’, ‘Isolate the Target’, ‘Create an Emotional Connection’ and ‘Blast Last-Minute Resistance’.

He says he’s single, honest and looking for love – just like you, in fact.