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Online scammers target lovelorn in Bern

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Online scammers target lovelorn in Bern
Fraudsters contact their victims through internet dating sites or social media. File photo: Don Hankins

Police in Bern are warning against the threat of fraudsters who have swindled 440,000 francs ($445,000) out of people looking for love on internet dating sites and social media.

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Some 17 cases have been reported in the canton of Bern since the beginning of the year, police said in a statement on Tuesday.

The scammers always use the same technique: they first make contact with their victim on social networks or a dating site, claiming to be “well-off with good manners and a high level of education,” said police.

Quite quickly, they declare their love for the person and then later invent “quite credible stories” to persuade their victim to send them money, police said, for example financial hardship after an accident or misfortune involving their children.

In attempt to combat the fraudsters, police have issued a warning to internet daters to be on the lookout for such activity.

Be suspicious if someone declares their love very quickly, or if they ask for money “even if the reasoning is logical,” said police.

And never send money to someone you don’t know.

Any suspicious activity should be reported to Bern cantonal police.

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