True Love

Wedding Day

True Love

I found true love

I got married on 19 May this year, the same day as the Royal Wedding.  I married my prince the same day as Megan married hers and we even had our own palace in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.  If I can find true love, then so can you.  As I firmly believe there is someone for everyone and all of us deserve love.

Online Dating

For years I was single and spent most of my 30s searching for love.  My career choice did not aid my quest for finding love.  I was a police detective working long drawn out hours, albeit in a male dominated environment, however not everyone was single or available.  The online dating scene was hard work.  There were a lot of time wasters, those who only wanted some online contact and you never got to meet them.  If you did get to meet someone, often they lied about their age, height, weight and marital status on occasions.  Some were only just out of relationships and not available.

Let’s help you

Enough about my past, and let’s talk about my present and how reading this blog might help you find true love.

Before I met my husband – Dave, husband still sounds strange for me, I had an ideal in my mind.  I saw myself with a partner without children from a previous relationship.  I saw us (me and my ideal) getting married, living in a nice house with our lovely children and the white picket fence complete with rose garden, family cat and dog.  The reality was I turned 40 and I was still single!  My chances of having children were slipping away.  I had a few failed relationships behind me and one engagement which I ended.

A slow burn

When I met Dave, I was almost 41 and he was separated with two grown up children and a vasectomy.  I vowed I would never date a smoker or a police officer.  He was also both of those, but happy to say he no longer smokes.  So, I broke all my rules.  Why? Because I simply fell in love with Dave and you cannot control who you fall for.  It was a slow burn though, I did not fall head over heels straight away.  Instead, we became close over a little time and every time we met we got to know a bit more about one another and found the attraction grew to become true love in less than eleven months.

Dave was not someone I would have swiped yes to online and that’s a good thing because clearly my so-called ‘Type’ was not working.  Instead in Dave I found a truly honourable, kind-hearted, respectful man.  I didn’t always like his dress style but that’s arbitrary and shallow as I always say to my clients you should never want to change what’s in someone’s heart and head and that’s what counts.  Wardrobes can be changed with a little help which we all need from time to time.

Dave asked me to marry him on my birthday, Christmas Eve 2016.  We married in May 2018 and it was the best day of our lives.  We celebrated with family and friends. Our honeymoon was idyllic, we sailed the Ionian for three weeks on our own boat.

Love is as individual as you are

True love comes in many shapes and forms and is as individual as you are.  So, throw away your list of must haves as you may well be the reason you are still single, as I was.

I have been instrumental in introducing many couples who now share a life together and I always help them through the maze of their past relationships which helps them open up to meeting someone great just like I did.

Author: Tara Frey (formerly) McDonnell, founder and owner of South Downs Introductions & Your Matchmaker.  Tara is a trained & certified matchmaker from the Matchmaker Academy, London.  She is also a proud award winner at the UK Dating Awards 2015.  

To contact Tara please call 0330 3230583 or use the form here.


Money Can’t Buy You Love

Money Can’t Buy You Love

Money can’t buy you love

Money can’t buy you love.  Or can it?  This is something I will discuss in this blog. 

I read an article in The Telegraph Money about a retired barrister, Mrs Brock, who paid £6595 to a dating agency in London.  She claimed to have met only one man over two years.

As I am in this industry I read the article with interest.  The agency in question is not some fly-by-night one.  In fact, they have been well established for some twenty-eight years, with a proven track record of creating many happy relationships.


Mrs Brock’s Claims:

Mrs Brock was 61 when she paid for her membership with the agency.  She was hoping to meet a man no older than 65, who was active, an educated professional and if divorced he should be so with a clean break.  A clean break divorce is a settlement with no financial ties with an ex, so all properties are sold, pensions divided, there are no periodical payments and both parties have a share of the liquidated assets.

She claims to have met only one man in two years with the agency and she said he resembled Donald Trump.

After no success Mrs Brock was advised to have some professional photography by her agency consultant and to curtail some details in her profile so as not to intimidate potential suitors.

She claims that the men suggested did not suit her criteria.  She requested a refund which initially was refused but was later given a full refund.

The Agency’s Response:

The agency said that Mrs Brock was offered over sixty profiles in two years, that’s one every twelve days.  Out of sixty profiles shown to Mrs Brock she only opted to meet nine.  And out of the nine she chose, only one male client agreed to meet her in return.

The agency said they advised her to be more flexible with her “extremely stringent criteria”.  They eventually refunded Mrs Brock in full.

Client’s Expectations and Criteria

As I read through the article, the first question that popped into my head was, had this client’s expectations been set right from the start?  Was she given a realistic chance of her success given her criteria and age?

It’s difficult for me to answer the above questions on behalf of the agency without being in possession of their consultation notes and being present during any meetings with Mrs Brock.  However, there are always two sides to any story which is something I learned whilst serving as a police detective.  You don’t know the truth because you weren’t there.  People will sometimes tell you what they want you to hear and hold certain things back, which assists their case or undermines the case of the other party.

What I can tell you though is how we manage peoples’ expectations and criteria.  Right from the initial contact a person makes with us, we are ‘testing’ them to see if our service is right for them.  If someone comes to us with unrealistic expectations and a strict list of criteria we ask them how important all of this is to them.  We are not expecting anyone to lower their standards but if someone is specifying an exact height, age, hair colour, size of hands (oh yes, someone specified a hand size) then we will tell them that we cannot create someone just for them.  Usually when we discuss criteria with someone they will say certain things are not so important.  Finding someone lovely is what they really want and not a made-up person that does not exist.

If, however they are steadfast in wanting perfection with their list of must-haves then we will tell them that such a thing does not exist, it’s likely to be impossible for us to help them therefore, we cannot offer them a membership with us.  We simply will not take on someone we believe will be difficult to match for whatever reason.  It’s not fair to them and it’s a headache for us.

Was Mrs Brock’s Criteria too stringent?

Was this too stringent?  It’s hard to tell without seeing the full consultation notes and again being present during meetings.  Maybe there was more information to be given here.  But on the information provided in the article I do not believe she was being overly stringent, – “no older than 65, educated, professional, clean break if divorced”.  I may have asked her to be more open on age and education as we have seen some lovely male clients who are aged between 62-68, have run their own businesses quite successfully from start-ups to sale and employed people, all without having a formal degree.

Photography and Profile advice

The request by the agency for Mrs Brock to have professional photography was good advice.  It’s always best to invest in some good photos, why wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward.  Curtailing her profile is also a good idea as people read too much into too much.  There should be enough in the profile to make the other client see why you have been matched, things such as values, qualities, lifestyles and some interests.  A lot of the other material can be left for a date and discussion for later dates should you like one another and continue dating.

The Public Humiliation

There were many comments left by both men and women who had read the article in the Telegraph.  Two women spoke of their positive experiences with the agency in question.  One woman had just celebrated her Silver Wedding Anniversary and met her husband through the agency.

Whereas other comments directed insults at Mrs Brock stating, “she needed a make-over, a better fitting bra, a smile, a new hairstyle, she was no oil painting herself and she was not so well-endowed with good looks”.  These comments were downright cruel.

I felt a pang of sadness for her because people may think she might be tough due to her former profession as a barrister, however, it was what she did, not who she is.  I am certain anyone being the victim of comments such as that would feel hurt, embarrassed and humiliated.

Mrs Brock’s comments about the only man she met were uncalled for “he resembled Donald Trump, looked older than he did on paper with dyed orange hair”.  I am sure he was sitting somewhere reading that article.  He was the only one of nine clients that agreed to meet her after all, so she really should have kept her comments to herself about his personal style.  By not doing this and putting herself on display publicly, she opened the door for some of the comments others made about her personal style.

I also wonder how much the ‘story hungry journalist’ explained to Mrs Brock that this media coverage could end up in her being targeted by online keyboard warriors.  In my view the journalist has some duty of care to protect Mrs Brock from some of the abuse she suffered with those comments.  Instead the journalist urged even more people to come forward for some of the same medicine, no doubt.

Misrepresentation, Consumer Rights and Refunds

The article stated that some three hundred people complained to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) last year about dating agencies.  The CAB told the journalist that most of these cases related to substandard services and breaches of contract.

It really goes back to what is promised to the client, what guarantees are made, are realistic expectations set, what is in the contract of service and did the client materially change what they originally asked the agency to provide at the beginning when discussions were had?  If a client materially changes what they initially said they were looking for, well there is no breach of contract.  It is so important to set those expectations and be completely honest and upfront with your agency from the start.

The Consumer Rights Act covers anyone paying for a service in the UK.  There is a 14 day Cooling off Period during which a no quibble full-refund can be obtained should you, as a consumer, change your mind.

After the 14 day Cooling off Period to obtain a refund you must show that the service provider (the agency in this case) did not demonstrate a reasonable level of expertise and/or did not deliver on the Terms in the contract.

However, Martyn James from Resolver, an online complaints service, said:You can’t complain that you didn’t fancy someone, or you were disappointed when you met up”. Such things are beyond the control of any agency, they cannot predict whether you will fancy the person or fall in love.

James went on to say that “the key word is ‘misrepresentation’”.  You might have a case if you feel you were misled.  So ask yourself, have you been told you would get one thing, but you were given something different by the agency?  What were you promised versus what was delivered?  You must separate the emotion of your disappointment with the service when asking yourself these questions and answer honestly.  Were you upfront with the agency from the start because they are not mind-readers.

You should never have to change or widen your preferences after joining an agency, they should be able to deliver on what was agreed upfront or they should refund you or refuse you membership on the basis that they don’t have what you want.  If, after joining, you decide to change or widen your preferences, the agency may be able to increase the number of matches they originally agreed for you, which might benefit you.

Conclusion – Money Can’t Buy You Love?

In short no, money can’t buy you love.  Dating agencies are an alternative service to online providers, who offer you opportunities to meet their members who have been identity checked and met in person.  They can take the hard work out of finding a partner.  Many of them have excellent proven track records and have introduced people who are now married and in love.  However, they can never and should never guarantee your money can buy you love.

No matter how much or how little you spend you cannot make someone fall in love with you.  No dating agency or matchmaker, no matter how well established, can guarantee you will leave them happy and in love.

We are very clear from the start that we cannot guarantee members will fall in love.  We can guarantee numerous opportunities to meet our members and the clear majority of them leave us happy and in love.

Joining a dating agency is a big decision.  Some agencies charge thousands of pounds, anything from £3k to even £30k for effectively what is a chance that they might introduce you to that ‘someone special’ to share life with.

Why We Charge What We Do

We don’t charge thousands of pounds and have on occasions have been asked if the more expensive services are better than ours?  Our response to that is the more expensive dating agencies tend to be in London where the higher earners are.  Whereas we are based in the Home Counties where the average salary (data from the Office National Statistics) is £28-£45k.  We do attract and have some high earning members who are high achievers based in the Home Counties.  Our success rate is just as good as the more expensive agencies.  It’s just our location that governs our pricing.

Moreover, our service is all about managing someone’s expectations and giving them a positive experience.  If their expectations are too high and they are making unrealistic demands, then we will be honest and say our service will not work for them.

On the other hand, if we believe they are genuinely open to finding a partner and are realistic about criteria then we will help them.  We have helped hundreds of our clients find love with many sharing lives together, engaged, married and living together as partners.

Author: Tara McDonnell, founder and owner of South Downs Introductions & Your Matchmaker.  Tara is a trained & certified matchmaker from the Matchmaker Academy, London.  She is also a proud award winner at the UK Dating Awards 2015.



Are you too Picky

Are You Too Picky

Are you too Picky

Are you too picky when it comes to dating?  If so you could be the reason why you’re still single.  Of course you deserve to meet someone lovely and spend the rest of your life with that person, but having sky-high expectations of meeting the perfect person means you could be passing up some great potential partners.

Signs you’re too Picky

It’s good to have standards but are you too picky?

If a couple of the following statements below sound like you then you may need to revaluate your approach to dating as it sounds as though you are too picky.  Therefore, you could be sabotaging your own chances of finding and keeping true love:

You have a list of must-haves that define your dream partner even down to their hair colour, body type or height.  You want the whole package or nothing.  Nobody is perfect, not even you, so refusing to budge an inch is not a good dating strategy;

You view a profile and say they’re not my type.  Yet you’ve just judged on their photograph or didn’t like their shirt or earrings.  Photographs are moments in time and not everyone is photogenic.  Clothing is arbitrary and can be changed.  I changed my partner’s whole wardrobe after we were dating a few months.  Remember, you’ve never met this person and have no idea what they are like and whether they could be right for you or not;

Your friends have said you are too picky when you refuse to meet worthy dates they try to set you up on.  Deep down you know you are too picky.  I know friends like to play matchmaker and sometimes they aren’t good at it.  But remember friends have your best interests at heart and wouldn’t set you up with a bad person;

You expect chemistry and all-out fireworks on a first date when in reality, chemistry can be a slow burn for quite a number of us.  Attraction can come from getting to know someone as they reveal more about themselves over a few dates;

You are too quick to rule someone out on a first date and you haven’t had a second date in a long time.  This is probably because you’re focused on little things and obsessing over a flaw.  Newsflash, you have flaws too.

What the Experts Say

We all have an expectation of what our perfect partner should be like.  For example, they should be tall, intelligent, have a sense of fun and adventure, be sporty and good-looking.  Well, “dating is a two-way thing” says James Preece, a well renowned expert and dating coach who successfully coached some of our members now in long-term relationships.  James goes on to say that “It’s okay to rule people out but you can’t expect to date a supermodel if you aren’t taking care of yourself”.

I agree with James.  I see people come to our service with over-inflated expectations of what they are looking for.  So, I will turn it around and ask them what they can bring to a relationship and why would someone want to have them as a partner?  It gets them thinking about what they can offer a person.  I don’t mean financially, I am taking about qualities and values – the fundamentals that any relationship able to stand the test of time is built on.

How we make a Match

We ask our members what they are looking for in terms of qualities and values.   We conduct a personality trait test with them so we have an idea of who they are more likely to mesh with or not.  Then we look at interests but we don’t expect them to match on every single one.  We won’t match two people who like golf or surfing because there is much more to compatibility than that.

We then telephone both members we’ve matched and tell them about one another, withholding their private information of course.  They both see each other’s profile complete with photographs.  When they both agree to meet we give the male member the female member’s email address to arrange their date.

Sometimes people don’t know what they want

We do listen to what people would like in an ideal world however, if we have a good match but there’s one thing that’s not quite what the member would like, we will always speak to them about that and let them decide.  I had a member in her mid-30s who was single, never married.  In her ideal world, she wanted to meet a single never married partner without children as she wanted to be the first to experience marriage and a family with him.  I called her and told her about a wonderful male member in his late 30s who was such a good match but he had a young daughter.  He wanted very much to have more children and get married.  She agreed to meet him and I must say they are very much in love.  She told me he’s wonderful and if she hadn’t accepted the match she would have made a terrible mistake.  He sent me an email saying he didn’t know how I got it so right on the first match when he’d been trying for years and he was falling in love.


So, it’s important to have some criteria but if you are too picky you could lose out on someone who could be so right for you, thus leaving you single for a long time.

We help people find love and our service works, there’s no doubt about it.  However, it will only work for people who are open to meeting who we recommend.  We’re proud to say that the majority of our members leave us happy having found love.

Author: Tara McDonnell, founder and owner of South Downs Introductions.  Tara is a trained certified matchmaker from the Matchmaker Academy.  She is also a proud award winner at the UK Dating Awards 2015.



Loneliest Society

Loneliest SpcietyLoneliest Society

What is Loneliness?

Loneliness is defined by Jenny De Jong Gierveld, as a subjective situation where an individual lacks certain relationships including intimacy.  As well connected as we are with our social technology and networking there is a rise in loneliness among us.  This is not just affecting the elderly, it’s affecting young men and women.

A recent advertising campaign by the Nationwide Building Society features Sugar J Poet talking about the importance of face to face connections, staying in touch and making time for one another.

So are we the loneliest society and if so why?

Are we the Loneliest Society?

A research project found that London was voted the loneliest capital of Europe with 52% of young people saying they feel lonely.

I suffered loneliness when I was single in my 30s and I will never forget how it felt.  I had a good career, family, friends and a good social life.  But when I went home every night I was utterly alone.  I had no partner to love or love me back.  I felt the best years of my life were flying by and I had non-one to share them with.

During my 30s a lot of my friends started to pair off into couples.  They got married and then started families.  Suddenly I was the odd one out and I felt very alone.  I tried online dating in my 30s in the hope of finding a partner.  It really didn’t help, in fact it made me feel worse and even helpless about my situation.  Kira Asatryan who is a certified relationship coach and author of Stop Being Lonely, warns against online dating when you’re lonely and says it will only exacerbate loneliness.  Given my experience, I agree with her concept.

The effect of Loneliness

Loneliness can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and well-being.  It can lead to lack of confidence, depression, stress and anxiety as well as substance misuse and mental health issues.

It’s a known fact that most of us find it difficult to meet a partner through conventional methods such as at work or in a bar.  We lead such busy lives and barely have time for one another let alone finding a partner.  The continuous rise of the single person household I believe is testament of this.  Living alone is also believed to have an impact on the rise of loneliness with the proportion of adults living solo having doubled according to the last Census.

Loneliness and Online Dating

Some people’s attitude when online dating may also be contributing to loneliness and the rise in single person households.  Human behaviour has changed since the launch of online dating.  People now use online dating sites and apps in a dismissive manner, believing they have an abundance of choice.  They will dismiss those who could be potentially compatible with them in the belief there are hundreds more in store for them.  Thus treating dating as if they are shopping for products and not people.  The reality is there is plenty of evidence now to show that some online profiles are fake or created by fraudsters.  

The well renowned psychologist, Dr Finkel states it’s not possible to tell whether you’re compatible with someone based on their profile.  He believes you need to look at interacting with the person rather than focusing on physical attributes such as height and body type.

Of course, physical attractiveness is important but in real life when we get to know someone for their personality we start to find them attractive.  Looking at someone’s photograph in their profile doesn’t allow for this slow burn reality of attraction (Kniffin and Wilson 2004 – Evolution & Human Behaviour).

I am living proof of the slow burn of attraction principle, as when I met my partner I was not initially attracted to him.  Nor did I think I would spend the rest of my life with him.  It was a slow burn for us when we met and I am glad to say that we marry next year.  I am no longer alone or lonely.

So how do you stop feeling lonely? 

There are a number of things you can do to help alleviate loneliness such as:

Attend a Meetup

Meetup is a social networking platform which allows its members to meet offline in social environments.  There are lots of Meetup groups catering for all sorts of interests from walking, sailing, golf, movies, cookery, you name it.  The people who attend the group meetings tend to be nice, friendly people in similar situations and single.  We run two groups, one in Sussex and Surrey.  It’s free to join our group so why not do so.  You never know where it might lead to.  Click to have a look at our Meetup group and some other groups you could join.


Helping others less fortunate tends to make you appreciate your own situation might not be so bad.  You will meet like-minded individuals who care about the communities we live in and that can’t be bad.  There are many charities who would welcome your assistance with open arms, Crisis, the RSPCA or Age Concern.   This link will take you to a site which lists a number of charities looking for volunteers by area.

Attend classes

There are lots of classes on offer either at a local gym or independently.  Try something new and fun.  The endorphins exercise release will have a positive effect on your mood.


There is certainly evidence to suggest that we are becoming the loneliest society.  There are ways in which we can improve on that and help ourselves.  Whatever you do remember you’re not alone in feeling this way.  You can take control of your situation and I believe there is someone out there for all of us.  Many of our clients find love through our matchmaking service and we’d only be too happy to do the same for you.

Author: Tara McDonnell, founder and owner of South Downs Introductions.  Tara is a trained certified matchmaker from the Matchmaker Academy.  She is also a proud award winner at the UK Dating Awards 2015.







I’m Engaged

Engaged Couple Paris

I’m Engaged

I’m Engaged

Yes, I’m engaged and we’re getting married next May.  Did I know on our first date that I would want to spend the rest of my life with him?  No I didn’t.  In fact it took longer than a couple of dates and it really was a slow burn.  If I can find my Mr Right then maybe I can help you find yours.  I have found many great partners for my members.  I am passionate about helping people find love and what’s more I am good at it.  I am recognised as one of the best in the UK Dating Industry as I won the UK Dating Awards in 2015 and was nominated as a finalist in 2016.

My Path to Finding Love

My own path to finding love was not easy.  A big relationship ended in my late 20s.  I found out he’d cheated on me.  Things changed between us and we took a break.  Realising we were happier apart than together, we sold our flat and divided the assets between us.  It was fairly straight forward.  I recall the day I moved in to my new flat alone.  I went to the estate agents and got the keys.  I then sat on the beach in shock, thinking this is not how it’s supposed to be.  I am not supposed to be single at 31 moving into a one bedroomed flat.  But I was and little did I know it would remain that way for almost the next decade.

Online Dating

I dabbled with online dating on and off but I found it so shallow.  People seemed to have this list of exactly what they were looking for and if you were missing one thing on that list then they dismissed you and moved on to the next profile.  I remember one guy sent me a list of questions to answer which included what was my favourite colour?  Really!  I bet he’s still single and just waiting to find the girl who likes just what he likes, including his favourite colour.  I found people lied about all sorts of things, such as age, height, even their marital status.  Some dates were more like counselling sessions as they clearly weren’t over their ex.  There was one guy I met online who I started dating long-term.  We’d even been on holiday together when, much to my horror, I realised he was still online dating and had never taken his profile down.  That was sickening and was also when I decided that online dating was not for me.

The years flew by and suddenly I found myself on a sleigh ride to 40 and I was still single.  I was always the one at my friends’ weddings that never had a ‘plus-one’.  In fact I refused to go to any more weddings after my brother’s.

Slow Burn

I gave up dating when I turned 40 because there just didn’t seem to be any one on my wavelength who had the same values as me.  I took up sailing and one day I went to see a friend’s boat.  He introduced to me my now partner.  There were no sparks or fireworks but I knew there was something I liked about this guy.  I couldn’t call it attraction as I didn’t fancy him.  Over the next few months we went sailing as a group.  I realised I was starting to feel excited about seeing this guy.  I was happy to be spending time with him and getting to know him.   Then one night whilst away on a sailing trip with our group he told me he liked me and that he really liked me.  I knew then I felt the same.  After that we became more than friends.

On my birthday last Christmas he asked me to marry him.  I am pleased to say I’m engaged to a wonderful, kind, gorgeous man who I trust implicitly.  There are always sparks and fireworks these days.  I look forward to seeing him every day and cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with him.


What I want you to take away from reading this is that love can be a slow burn.  Don’t expect there to be sparks and fireworks on a first date.  There should be something to make you think that you would like to see the person again but don’t get too caught up in the elusive chemistry connection that everyone seems to be seeking.  Sometimes it’s the second or third date that leads to finding that and it might be a slower burn for you, just like it was for me.

Author: Tara McDonnell, founder and owner of South Downs Introductions.  Tara is a trained certified matchmaker from the Matchmaker Academy.  She is also a proud award winner at the UK Dating Awards 2015.


Online Dating

Online Dating Fraud

Online Dating Fraud 

The first week in January is the busiest time of the year for online dating.  Millions of people hit dating websites hoping to find love after spending another Christmas alone.  However, lurking among the sea of profiles online are sophisticated gangs who prey on innocent people merely trying to find a life partner.  These gangs are criminals and use dating sites to groom their victims.  They use age old techniques which play mind games making their victims feel guilty if he/she doubts them or do not do as they ask.  They are online dating fraudsters, aka romance fraudsters.  They have devastated their victims’ lives, left them penniless and destroyed the futures which they worked hard to provide for.

Online Dating Fraud Figures

Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) confirm that online dating fraud cost a heart-breaking £27m between 2014 and 2015.  These also show that two out of three romance frauds started on dating sites.  Over 70% or people who have used dating sites say that people misrepresented themselves on their profiles.  It is suspected that the number of crimes could in fact be much higher with victims far too embarrassed and ashamed to report the crimes to the police.

The Fraudsters Modus Operandi

Fraudsters use different aliases and adopt English names such as Richard or Christian.  Conversely they are usually Nigerian and operate within a ring of fraudsters.  Their photos  are stolen images from other dating profiles or Facebook members who have no idea their photographs are even being used.  Often they will want to communicate with you by text, email or phone very quickly.  Words such as “my love, dear” are used frequently and they say they love you very soon, too soon in fact when they’ve never met you.  They say they are in the military but this is now widely known as a Modus Operandi (MO) so they may use a different occupation.  They may even say they are widowed which is a hook especially if their victim is also widowed.

Victims become isolated, waiting for their romance fraudster’s message and it’s easy to get taken in.  They may even tell you not to tell friends or family about them in the same way a paedophile does when grooming their victim.  Beware if they ask you to pose for a sexually explicit photograph as they are likely to use this to blackmail you if you don’t do what they ask and provide them with cash.

And then comes the part where they have a large inheritance or an amount of money which needs releasing.  But they need your help to release it so you can have a life together and live happily ever after with them.  Victims sucked in by these scammers have handed over thousands of pounds and borrowed from friends and family as well as handing over their own nest egg for their future.

It’s not just women who are targeted

A number of victims are middle aged women however, men get taken in too as well as younger victims in their 40s.  A couple of my male members in their early 40s almost fell victim to the charms of attractive women who showed an interest in them.  These women then needed money for an ill relative.

One of my female members was also targeted by a male who said he lived in Hampshire but thankfully she smelt a rat before it was too late and told him not to contact her again.  The police came knocking on her door a few weeks later after the forensic examination of his phone upon arrest led them to her.  Thinking she may be another victim like the women who had handed over £170k of her life savings to him.  She had a lucky escape.

Get Safe Online

If you are in contact with someone you suspect may not be who they say they are then report it immediately to the dating website and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.  Or use their Online Reporting Tool.

Get Safe Online has important advice when using online dating sites. Never send anyone you don’t know any money or sexually explicit images of yourself.  Remember we all have instincts and if something doesn’t feel right then it usually isn’t.

Stay safe if you intend to use online dating sites to find love this year.  Alternatively you could invest in our matchmaking service which has helped hundreds of members find someone to share their lives with.

Author: Tara McDonnell, founder and owner of South Downs Introductions.  Tara is a trained certified matchmaker from the Matchmaker Academy.  She is also a proud award winner at the UK Dating Awards 2015.


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