In 2019, victims of dating fraud were scammed for 3,744,300 euros, according to figures from Fraudehelpdesk who requested NU.nl. The amount has more than doubled compared to two years ago. Then the counter was still on a total damage of 1,651,769 euros.
In 2019 639 reports of dating fraud arrived at the Fraud Help Desk. In 2018, there were 412. In the past year, 259 people actually became victims of dating fraud. This means that the victims were scammed for an average of 14,457 euros.
According to Tanya Wijngaarde, spokesperson at the Fraud Help Desk, the amount per victim is so high because the victims are often scammed for a long period. "The perpetrators spend months, sometimes years in contact with their victim."
The number of actual victims is probably higher; not everyone who becomes a victim of dating fraud reports this to the Fraud Help Desk.
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"A very intensive form of fraud"
Dating fraud is a form of fraud in which the victim is misled by someone who is allegedly in love with him or her. It is a very intensive form of fraud, says Wijngaarde.
The victim thinks to build a relationship with someone, but is actually being scammed. "They present themselves as the ideal man or woman. They send sweet messages every day, and sometimes send flowers to them. After a while, they say they need money temporarily. The victims pay that assuming they have the money get back at some point, but that is not the case, "says Wijngaarde.
In most cases, victims of dating fraud have lost their money. This is because many scammers work from abroad and their true identities are unknown.
Especially over 45s victims
Victims are mainly people over 45, says Wijngaarde. "The perpetrators often look for people who are divorced or widowed. People who need contact." She also sees that there are more female victims than male among the reports.
Wijngaarde warns people who date online to be alert to scammers. "The scammers usually pretend to be English or American people who have been sent abroad. That makes the scenario that they are temporarily unable to get hold of their money. But if someone you have never met asks for money, then you have to never just give that. "