Govt warns of online Valentine's scams

11/02/2010

Internet users have been warned of the danger of online dating scams in the run-up to Valentine's Day.

As part of Scams Awareness Month, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has warned lonely hearts of the practice, which sees scammers targeting dating websites by setting up fake profiles and sending malware links.

More seriously, some will also try and gain people's trust through conversation and fake photographs, before giving a fake story to try and persuade users to part with cash.

Heather Clayton, senior director of the Office of Fair Trading's Consumer group, said: 'The internet is now an established way to meet and connect with new people, but those meeting on dating and other sites need to be on their guard against potential dating scams.

'All fraud is destructive but dating scammers are particularly ruthless as they abuse the emotional trust and attachments that people invest when looking to meet someone.'

The Serious Organised Crime Agency reported that in one recent case a British national was kidnapped after travelling to west Africa to meet someone with whom they had established an online friendship.