Online dating scamers

• Never reply to communications from someone who you meet on a dating site/chat room or social networking website that then wants continue the communication by email.

• If you think a profile is fake, check the website for details on reporting it.

They will then ask the victim to pay, and if they do, the fraudster might also ask them to pay for the flight. "Fraudsters claim they have found a box containing gold, silver, money and jewels (or any one of them) in the desert and have sent it out of the country to set up a future together with the victim," said Action Fraud UK.

"However, this box is now stuck in (x) country’s customs.

"This includes never giving money to anyone – just as you would never give money to someone you recently met in a pub or café – and not sharing personal contact details that take conversations off the site," he said.

From April 2013 to March 2014, there were 2,037 cases of dating scams reported to Action Fraud, with the 651 scams over the summer marking an acceleration.In July, the average payout was as high as £10,882.With one in four British adults using a dating website at some point in their life, according to Which?Mr Cole told Ms Parke that he was a widower and that he had moved to Britain with his young daughter, Maureen.He said that while abroad on business, his daughter had been injured in a hit and run accident and he required £9,600 for the operation in hospital.

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