People over the age of 50 are most likely to be the targets of dating site-based cyber criminals, RTL news reports on Wednesday.
A special police website set up to help victims of on and off-line fraud reports up to 90% of victims are older than 50. Women make up the bulk of the victims, especially those who are ‘rather desperate’, the broadcaster said.
Criminals target women seeking a new relationship by putting together photos and a profile using information gleaned from social media sites such as Facebook. Once a prospective victim has been hooked, they are asked for cash. This often first occurs following a cancelled visit. The fraudster then asks for larger and larger sums.
The police estimate dating site fraudsters netted at least €8m last year. ‘But this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg because many victims are too embarrassed to say they have been conned,’ the police say.
People from all walks of life have fallen victim to dating fraud. In one case, an accountant killed himself after handing over €165,000 to a woman who did not exist, RTL said.
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