Online dating scammers are using new tactics to try and trick unsuspecting singles out of money, according to a report from national fraud centre Action Fraud.
Online dating scams are on the rise, with 2,037 cases reported to Action Fraud UK from April 2013 to March 2014, and 651 scams taking place over the summer.
An average of £9,589 per victim has been lost to these scams.
And Action Fraud says scammers are using new tricks, such as saying they need money for leave, or have valuable possessions in customs.
The fraudsters claim to not have enough annual leave to visit, so need money to come and see the victim.
They go on to say they can buy leave from their employer, which is usually priced at about £250 per day.
Victims are usually asked to send money for 10 days worth of leave, which is £2,500, and if that is successful they ask to have their flight paid as well.
The other scheme the fraud reporting centre have noticed is: “Fraudsters claim they have found a box containing gold, silver, money and jewels (or any one of them) in the desert and have sent it out of the country to set up a future together with the victim.”
“However this box is now stuck in (x) country’s customs. In order to release it they claim they have to pay a customs release fee – which is then requested from the victim.”
Last week, London’s Metropolitan Police announced a crackdown on online dating scammers, part of a wider war on cyber crime and fraud in the capital city.
And over in Australia, consumer watchdog the ACCC launched a Scam Disruption Project, designed to get in touch with people who might be victims of online dating scams, by checking international transactional data.
Visit Action Fraud here.