Yet, despite their warning, police say they don’t have numbers.
“We have some records, yes, but no statistics,” an officer at the Cybercrime unit of the police told the Sunday Mail.
Many people caught up in romance scams are ashamed to report it because they feel foolish.
“Most of our cases involve sextortion,” said the cybercrime officer.
In 2010 Nicosia-based businessman Marcus Platrides, then 29, discovered that women living in Sweden, the US and Canada had been sending money to Istanbul to someone who claimed to be him, or at least, to have his face and body.
The woman from Canada informed him that someone had been using photos of him on a dating site to lure women into an “online” relationship and then trick them into sending him money.
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By Jean Christou Far from being a phenomenon that an internet savvy populace should be attuned to in 2017, romance scams are on the rise across the globe in what has become an industry worth billions, and Cyprus police warn that “it is developing fast”.
Initially, in order not to arouse suspicion, they ask for a small amount of money, supposedly for some small expenses.
They then ask for more money, supposedly for more expenses, such as the travel expenses of the ‘groom’ or ‘bride’ that never comes,” says a warning on the Cyprus police website.
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