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“I just couldn’t believe that was what he was saying,” Jane told .But she was feeling vulnerable after the breakdown of her marriage and agreed to transfer him a smaller amount, despite admitting it sounded “crazy”.

And it’s not just particularly vulnerable people who fall victim either.

“[It’s] not the case that stupid people fall for romance scams - they can be very clever,” Professor Monica Whitty, a cyber-psychologist, explains. Scamalytics, a company which runs anti-scammer software for a number of the major dating sites, are trying to reduce online dating fraud by creating profiles of the average male and female con artist.

She is 5’6”, has never been married, and has long brown hair and blue eyes.

Photos used are often selfies of her wearing skimpy vest tops showing lots of cleavage.

So what can you do to avoid being a victim of an online dating scam?

Jane advises meeting up with someone sooner rather than later - more often than not, scammers are based abroad and won’t be able to meet you.

He presents himself as a widower, with a degree and of average height (5’10”).

He is most likely to have a career in engineering, has no interest in politics, a full head of light brown hair, and the photos are often taken at a slight distance.

By analysing the top 3,000 scammer profiles (that is, those they’ve come across most frequently in profiles blocked by their software in the last year) they’ve discovered what constitutes the ‘most attractive’ female and male propositions to those targeted by romance scammers.

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