Report dating scammers

A spokesman for the City of London Police warns: ‘The numbers we see are just the tip of the iceberg as people often do not report cases because they feel stupid for being deceived.’The campaign hopes to prevent the heartache and financial loss suffered by people such as David, who told The Mail on Sunday about being defrauded of his life savings in a dating scam.

The warehouse worker is still piecing his life and finances back together three years on.

The scammers may advertise items at a price much lower than comparable items advertised on the same site. Scammers may also pose as buyers, send you a cheque for more than the required payment on an item, and then ask you to refund the difference. If you have bought something online and there is a problem, you should first try to contact the retailer or auction service. If you are not satisfied with the response and suspect that it may be a scam, you may be able to arrange a charge-back through your bank or credit union if you have paid by credit card.

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Scammers may claim that the winner of an auction you were bidding in has pulled out, and offer the item for sale to you.

Once they have your money, you will never hear from them again and the auction site will not be able to help you.

Unfortunately, it was an accomplice at the end of the phone. He says: ‘I got into debt, but she said she would pay me back.’When Kerry said she could not get the flight to visit him without yet another payment to ‘immigration’, David finally sought advice and learnt he had been scammed. Devastated, he turned to Victim Support to help him get back on his feet emotionally, and to debt charity Step Change to sort out his debts.

He says: ‘I was encouraged to take up a hobby and have been ballroom dancing several nights a week.

David says: ‘We started emailing each other instead.

The relationship made me happy.’ About four months later Kerry, who claimed to be 45, began to request money, initially for an air fare from Ghana, where she said she lived.

David says: ‘I agreed and sent money through the Money Gram service at a post office.’The use of a money transfer service is another crafty ruse, as payees cannot be easily traced.

David became suspicious as the requests for cash increased.

But so sophisticated was the scam that Kerry produced a plane ticket, visa and other paperwork that all appeared genuine.

He even called the immigration number on her documents.

It has been great as therapy and for making friends.‘I’ve only just started to be able to trust people again.

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