By analysing the top 3,000 scammer profiles (that is, those they’ve come across most frequently in profiles blocked by their software in the last year) they’ve discovered what constitutes the ‘most attractive’ female and male propositions to those targeted by romance scammers.
The male profile is in his late 40s (48 is the most common age) with a high income.
The female profile is in her 20s (29 was the most common age), and also has a high income.
After a couple of months, he said he had to go to the Middle East for an oil rig refurbishment and even sent Jane pictures of him in his hardhat on the rig.
She was all set to meet him at the airport when he suddenly messaged saying his funds had dried up and he needed £5,000.
“A lot of the online dating fraudsters we know are abroad.
They're in West Africa, Eastern Europe and it's very difficult for British law enforcement to take action against them in those jurisdictions,” Steve Profitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud explains.
Watch out for inconsistencies and repetition too - if you’re talking to a team of scammers, they’re bound to forget what’s previously been said and slip-up occasionally.
After reporting the profile to the dating site, stop all contact and get in touch with Action Fraud on 03.
“I just couldn’t believe that was what he was saying,” Jane told .
But she was feeling vulnerable after the breakdown of her marriage and agreed to transfer him a smaller amount, despite admitting it sounded “crazy”.
So what can you do to avoid being a victim of an online dating scam?
Jane advises meeting up with someone sooner rather than later - more often than not, scammers are based abroad and won’t be able to meet you.
And it’s not just particularly vulnerable people who fall victim either.