Financial damage caused by online dating scammers could nearly double this year
The Fraud Help Desk expected scammers to have enmassed around seven million euros from people in the Netherlands looking for love by the end of the year, according to the Fraud Help Desk, NOS reported. The reported financial damage is probably underestimated because not all victims come forward out of shame. Last, year dating fraudsters accumulated 3.9 million euros.
Fraudsters on online dating sites and social media create a fake identity who claims to fall in love with the victim. They use fake identification documents and banking websites to make themselves more credible. "The person is usually the ideal type of the average single European," Tanya Wijngaarde from the Fraude Help Desk said. Once they gain their trust, they ask for more and more money.
On average, victims lose around 30 thousand euros. The Fraud Help Desk reported that the number of victims has not risen, but the amount of money fraudsters accumulate per person has.
Victims also suffer psychological damages. "People were deceived for months. They have shared all kinds of personal information and sometimes revealing photos," Wijngaarde said.
Police in Utrecht arrested eight people earlier this week after they allegedly scammed a man out of 1.7 million euros by promising to marry him to a 17-year-old girl once she became an adult. The family threatened and physically assaulted the man when he refused to pay for their expenses.
In addition to dating scams, other types of fraud have also been on the rise. "We still need to conduct research, but we see that the financial damages caused by other forms of fraud have also increased," Wijngaarde said.