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Dating fraud is becoming more common

You hope to find a new love online, but then it turns out that the person you fell in love with is a scammer. You are left with a looted bank account and a broken heart. How do you recognize dating fraud and how can you protect yourself?

In the recent Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler, we see how women are scammed for thousands of euros by their new love Simon Leviev. They meet him through Tinder, where he pretends to be a jetsetter.

He takes them to chic hotels and takes them with expensive gifts. With this he gains their trust and gets them to lend high amounts to him, which they then never see again.

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Scammed for more money

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) sees that the number of reports about dating fraud has increased considerably in the past six months. They receive a notification almost every day, says an AFM spokesperson.

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Last year, victims of dating fraud in our country were scammed for more than 7 million euros, according to figures from the Fraud Help Desk. A doubling of one year previously. It is striking that the number of financial victims decreased slightly last year:

in 2021 there were 231 compared to 264 in the previous year. But the average amount per scammed person has risen to 30,000 euros.

“Scammers are becoming more and more professional. For example, by no longer asking for money themselves, but by tempting someone to ‘invest’.”

Tanya Wijngaarde, Fraud Helpdesk.

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Spokesperson Tanya Wijngaarde cannot give a direct explanation for the increase. “We still have to do research into this, but we do see that scammers are becoming more sophisticated and professional. For example, by no longer asking for money themselves, but by tempting someone to ‘invest’.

Where then the entire website around the investment product is fake. That could explain why the amount has become higher.”

Exploiting vulnerability (Dating fraud is becoming more common)

The 48-year-old Saskia found out in time last year that someone was trying to scam her. Because of shame, she only wants to be called by a different name. Saskia met the 36-year-old ‘Andrew’ via Tinder. “He was super sweet and interested.

I felt good with him.” After weeks of daily contact, he needed money from her. “A total of 10,000 euros. I was the only one who could help him.”

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“In the end, he got very angry and I never heard from him again.”

Saskia (48) was almost the victim of dating fraud.

Past experiences kept her on guard. “I indicated that I did not have the money. I then kept him on a leash for a while, to see if he really liked me or was after my money. He kept asking for the money, but I also kept refusing. In the end, he got very angry and I never heard from him again.”

Although Saskia exposed her con man in time, she was left with heartbreak. “I didn’t lose any money, but I still felt really bad. You miss someone who didn’t really exist.” According to her, it is easy to be scammed. “Scammers take advantage of your vulnerability, they play on your emotions.”

It can happen to anyone

According to Tanya Wijngaarde of the Fraud Help Desk, it is important to pay attention to this form of fraud, because there is a great emotional impact. “Victims have been fooled for weeks, months and sometimes even years. They all shared personal information. There are all kinds of feelings involved.”

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“We see that victims are not only left with financial debts, but also with psychological complaints.”

Tanya Wijngaarde, Fraud Helpdesk.

“The victim has often lived on a pink cloud,” wijngaarde says. “They really think they have found a new love. If that turns out not to be the case, the shame is great. We see that victims are not only left with financial debts, but also with psychological complaints.”

Also according to Wijngaarde, it is a misconception to think that you cannot be scammed yourself. “It can really happen to anyone, both men and women. As people, we are good of trust and often start from the positive.”

Five tips to protect yourself from online dating fraudsters

  • Always consider the risks of online dating. Online, anyone can pretend to be someone else, so there is a possibility that you are dealing with a fraudster.
  • Be alert when your online dating partner quickly floods you with declarations of love.
  • Check the information you get. Search for an image on Google to check if the photos sent are still elsewhere on the internet.
  • Never transfer money to someone you’ve never met in person. Also, do not share account information or copies of personal documents.
  • Talk to your environment about your online date. Someone in your area can hear alarm bells ringing more quickly with certain things.

Dating fraud is becoming more common

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Victor ogbu Ode

    March 27, 2022 at 10:19 am

    Men should be more careful

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