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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.
That’s how powerful it is.’Scam Survivors also works to make life as difficult as possible for fraudsters, baiting them, wasting their time, closing their bank accounts and killing their fake social networking profiles.
But Wayne May admits it’s a drop in the ocean.'The fact that they can afford to do that shows how many others they have on the go.
You always see a work acquaintance in the hall, and you stop and chat with him for a few moments because you tend to like the conversation. Just so, the follow-up message, according to Sally Horchow and her father, Roger—the other co-author on the book—is “the single most important thing you can do to build friendships.” It can be as simple as an e-mail or a phone call or a text message, and it should suggest a future plan of action.
But if you find yourself attached to your phone and not your bromance, read up on how the smartest men conquer their smartphone addictions.
His messages began to refer to Felix as ‘our son’ (Sara has no children of her own). They’d speak on the phone and he called her Mum (it was her scammer using voice-morphing technology).
When it was ‘Felix’s birthday’, Sara sent money for an i Phone. ‘I believed in the boy – that was my weak point,’ she says.
All he needs is a little money to get him through a tricky situation…
When he had an accident and needed surgery, Sara paid for it. ‘I tried my best to help that child.’‘Even when the fraud is revealed, they find it hard to let go.
Sometimes they confront the fraudster, whose response is: “I was scamming you, but while I did, I fell in love with you,” and it continues.
Judith joined a dating site last year – one which matches your values, personality and lifestyle with other members and scores them accordingly. When he got my replies, he’d come up with something similar but ever so slightly different.’'He’d say he loved me and I’d reply, “You haven’t even met me!
Let’s wait and see.”’ So her scammer tried another tack: introducing Felix, a 14-year-old boy he had ‘saved’ in Liberia, who was temporarily living in Ghana.
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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.