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The commission provided data showing ACORN received 39,487 reports last year and 22,710 reports in the first six months of this year.

However, it did not provide any figures on how many reports had been passed on to police.

Letters are exchanged between the scammer and victim until the scammer feels they have groomed the victim enough to ask for money.

This might be for requests for gas money or bus and airplane tickets to travel to visit the victim, medical expenses, education expenses etc.

Private investigator Simon Smith, who was hired by Mr Prescott, said the information he gathered would go a long way to helping Australian and international police to identify the scammers."All you need to do once you have an IP address and time is contact the relevant internet service provider in whatever country it is and, with a law authority, basically ask them, 'Who is the owner of this IP address?

But just as dating app users are at an all-time high, so is the number of people becoming victims of online dating fraud.Melbourne man Gerard Prescott turned to a private investigator earlier this year after losing 0,000 through an online dating scam."For the last 12 months all I've done is look for answers" he said."I got a private investigator to find the IP addresses, and I found an IP address in Nigeria and one in South Africa."Mr Prescott was tricked into sending the money after meeting who he thought was a Brisbane-based woman on a Christian dating website late last year.Mr Prescott originally reported the fraud to the Federal Government's Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Authority (ACORN), but said he did not get a response until six months later."I haven't been able to get the police to do anything," he said.Upon finding victims, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, (such as providing an e-mail address) to allow for fraud to occur.The fraud typically involves the scammer acting as if they've quickly fallen for the victim so that when they have the opportunity to ask for money, the victim at that time has become too emotionally involved, and will have deep feelings of guilt if they decline the request for money from the scammer.58 year-old David was using an online dating website, and came across someone who he thought was an old friend.


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