Damage dating fraud already amounts to more than 9 tons

The financial damage as a result of dating fraud is already quite expensive. In the first five months of the year, scammers have already managed to get more than 930,000 euros. A total of 71 people have fallen victim to this scam.

That reports Pointer, the journalistic research platform of KRO/NCRV.

How dating fraud works

In dating fraud, a potential victim gets to know a nice man or woman via the internet. To gain trust, the fraudster chats with his target for a long time. In this way they try to gain the trust of their victim. They often do this to dozens of unsuspecting men and women. Often it is men who are guilty of dating fraud: they pretend to be an attractive lady or rich man.

Once the scammer has won the trust of the other person, the proverbial monkey comes out of the sleeve: they say they urgently need money. They use different excuses for this. Think of a family member who is critically ill and needs ‘life-saving surgery’. Or is in high debt and he is in danger of losing his house if money is not forthcoming quickly. Whether someone would love to see his beloved but has no money to buy a plane ticket.

Because the victim is in love and wants to help him or her, he transfers money to the man or woman he has been chatting with for weeks or months. Some fraudsters are so bold that they keep asking for money more often afterwards. Once the victim gets suspicious, it’s too late. Then he is often thousands of euros lighter and he can whistle for his money.

Damage amount is lower than last year

The first half of the year is almost over. This prompted Pointer’s investigative journalists to draw up a provisional balance. They looked at how many victims have become victims of dating fraud.

And it doesn’t look good. From January to May, internet scammers have, in total, stolen 932,604 euros from unsuspecting victims. In total, 71 Dutch people lost their money to dating fraud. The average financial damage caused by dating fraud is more than 13,000 euros in the first five months of the year.

By way of comparison: last year the average damage amounted to 31,000 euros.

 Fewer reports of dating fraud due to corona

That sounds like a hefty amount, but according to a Fraudehelpdesk spokesperson, it is not that bad. The total damage is guaranteed to increase further in the second half of the year. The spokesperson cannot name a number. On the one hand, this is because not all victims report to the Fraud Helpdesk. “Our phone lines were closed at certain times of the year due to the lockdown. Dating fraud victims in particular often prefer to call rather than fill out a web form,” explains the spokesperson for the Fraud Helpdesk.

On the other hand, the amount of damage per victim often varies widely. One has lost a relatively small amount, for example, because he thought he was buying an aeroplane ticket or paying off debts. Blinded by feelings of infatuation, some victims are a ton or lighter.

New trend emerging

According to the Fraud Helpdesk, a new trend is underway. Dating fraud is combined with investment fraud. The scammer pretends to get rich through investing. After chatting for a while, he proposes to the victim to invest money in stocks or cryptocurrencies. As soon as the victim transfers his money to the scammer, he loses his money.

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