Alison Taylor on relationships: Are we not all romance fraudsters?

 

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Just when we thought we'd reached Defcon 1 on the worry scale, along comes 'Romance Fraud'. According to Action Fraud, which collates these things, this increased by 150 per cent between 2013 and 2014.

For anyone unsure, romance fraud in this instance refers to those absolute bastards who woo people online in order to extract money from them. In response, 192.com, the directory enquiries site, has launched a Check Your Date service that provides a "full background report" on financial and marital status, as well as checking whether your date has stolen the identity of a dead person.

Romance fraud is a multifarious beast. When I brought up the subject with my friend, his immediate response was: "Oh, you mean like when you pretend you love the theatre when really you hate it?". Erm, well, no. I am talking life-changing swindling. But he does have a point – are we not all romance fraudsters to a degree?

Hands up who's lied about their height or whether they smoke? Age is another point of deception. Personally, I don't lie about being 37, but I reckon if I did I'd get more dates. (Possibly with shallow, ageist men.)

Everyone claims they don't smoke on dating sites, too – and then bum a fag from you when you meet. It makes me laugh, but also makes me think they are losers for feeling the need to lie. It's not up there with swindling a pension book out of someone, of course. But those little lies hint at a greater untruth.

A small fib here, a small fib there, and soon you're on Crimewatch.

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