There has been an ‘explosive’ growth in the number of people reporting being conned by ‘partners’ they met online, the Dutch internet fraud help desk told the Volkskrant on Thursday.
Since January, 73 Dutch people have paid some €1.2m to conmen and women they met online who were operating fake accounts.
People who have lost their partner through death or divorce are most vulnerable to being conned, as are older women with a religious background, the help desk told the paper.
The help desk has recorded a 32% rise in reports over the past six months, compared with a year ago, with peaks in the run up to public holidays.
‘Victims are embarrassed and know that the perpetrators are rarely caught,’ said help desk spokesman André Vermeulen. ‘That is why some 90% never report what has happened.’
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