More than 200,000 people in Britain may have been conned by fraudsters posing as would-be romantic partners on internet dating sites, according to the first study examining the potential scale of the problem.
Anti-fraud groups have warned for some time about scams, in which criminals create a false identity ? often an army officer on active service, explaining an inability to meet in person ? and develop a close online intimacy with a victim, who is then asked for cash to help their presumed suitor out of a crisis.
It had long been suspected that official figures for such crimes greatly under-represented their prevalence, largely because many victims feel too embarrassed or hurt to go to the police, or never realise they have been conned.
source/full story: guardian