Online date 'stole my money not my heart' says mum set up with Brent's most wanted
PUBLISHED: 06:30 08 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:19 08 September 2016
A single-mum has warned of the pitfalls of online dating after being set up with a man who was once on a list of Brent's most wanted criminals by match-making site OkCupid.
Nurse Linda Jordan, 52, has appealed for women to beware following her date with a former prisoner who was in pursuit of money rather than love.
She was duped into lending the man £70 and she has not seen him, or the money, since.
She was shocked to later find his face in an online gallery of Brent’s most wanted men issued by police some years ago.
The mum-of-three has warned other women to beware.
“Don’t take people at face value,” she said.
“You realise afterwards that you’ve been made a mug of. I would warn people to be cautious of online dating and don’t hand strangers money.
“It didn’t even occur to me that it might be a risk.”
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, chatted her up online and quickly asked to meet face-to-face.
At first Ms Jordan thought he seemed “just like a normal person really” but her suspicions were aroused when he asked to borrow money.
“He told me his car was in the pound and he needed £70 and that was the last I saw of him,” she said. “He did try to get more money out of me the following day, which I point blank refused. I realised he was a scammer.
“He was very insistent, he gave all these excuses and he was very clever.”
Our investigation has shown the man went to prison following the police appeal, which was in relation to a robbery, and has since been released.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “He is not wanted for this offence now.”
Our reporter attempted to track down the man and confront him about why he has not repaid the £70. He has not returned calls from the Times.
Ms Jordan, who lives in Hertfordshire, said he was very convincing.
“He came across just as a normal person really,” she said. “I take people at face value and I just wanted to meet someone nice.”
OkCupid did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.
EMERGING THREAT OF ‘ROMANCE FRAUDSTERS’
Figures reveal online dating fraud in the UK is on the rise with a 33 per cent increase in cases in 2014 compared to the previous year.
Statistics from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau show “romance fraudsters” cost the UK public £34million in 2014 compared to £24.5million in 2013.
There was also a significant rise in reported fraud cases from April to May 2014, suggesting people may be more susceptible to romance scams in the wake of Valentine’s Day.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has reported a six-fold increase in rape claims linked to first dates organised through online dating apps.
A report in February this year showed police forces logged 184 rape allegations in the UK in 2014 – up from 33 in 2009.
“Reports indicate that these offences took place during the first face-to-face meeting between the victim and the offender and they initially met online,” it said.
“This emerging threat appears to be a result of the increasing popularity of online dating.”
One in three relationships now start online and seven million users across the UK are registered with online dating sites, according to market research group Mintel.
TOP TIPS FOR SAFE INTERNET DATING
Get Safe Online says:
Never disclose private information on online dating sites.
Be anonymous, choose a username that doesn’t let everyone know who you are.
Be very careful about how and when you meet people in person. Meet in public and stay in public.
Money requests are a red light. Never send or transfer money to people you meet online, however unfortunate their story.
Get to know people, take your time and trust your instincts.
Check if the dating site you use is a member of the Online Dating Association.
To find out more visit www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/online-dating