Victims of online dating

Sometimes our mind can trick us into thinking we've met the perfect match when in fact we are being conned by a scam-artist.” "Don’t be afraid to research someone you meet online.

Use Google Images to check whether the photos they are using belong to someone else and check social media sites to ensure they really exist.

Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.

You also have the ability to block someone on a dating site messaging system." “When you meet someone you can quickly feel like you know them really well, because it’s often easier to connect in writing and to read more into the written word than the spoken word.

This can mean you rush into things, and relationships may move quicker than you expect.

Rapes related to online dating increased by nearly a factor of six -- from 33 in 2009 to 184 in 2014 -- according to a report released Monday by the UK's National Crime Agency.

That's a small fraction of the number of online encounters, to be sure.

, users are being warned to be vigilant while online, particularly as the fraudster's tactics are becoming more elaborate.

Action Fraud UK, the country's fraud and internet crime reporting centre, says it has been alerted to new methods used by dating fraudsters.They exploit their access to potential victims and establish trust before meeting.Attacks mostly were committed during the first face-to-face meetings after contact was made through dating sites or apps. Online dating services have been around since the early days of the Web, with major paid sites like emerging in 1995 and e Harmony in 2000.But despite the potential risks, two experts in the field say there is no need to shy away from online dating as long as precautions are taken.Nick Tsinonis, co-founder of Scamalytics, which creates software designed to prevent scammers from targeting people on online dating sites, offered a range of advice as to how to stay safe while interacting with a prospective date online.“My friends advised me to go online and try to find someone to share my life with,” she says via Skype.

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