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Last year in the UK, online dating scammers conned their dates out of £33 million.

Anna Moore investigates the crooks who target smart, successful women Using a fake profile on the popular dating site (they operated as ‘Christian Anderson’, a divorced engineer), the pair managed to persuade a newly divorced mother of two to sign over a staggering £1.6 million, some of it her own, the rest borrowed from family and friends.

You register with an internet-based dating agency or join an online dating chat room.

You receive a contact from someone who shows an interest in you.

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

All he needs is a little money to get him through a tricky situation…

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

Gradually, you develop a long-distance relationship through emails, instant messaging, texting and phone calls.The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.Online versions of the scam originate primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria, with Ivory Coast, Togo, South Africa, Benin, the Netherlands, and Spain also having high incidences of such fraud.An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick.The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum.