Markus Frind is far too lean and thoughtful to be mistaken for a mischievous cherub, but he knows more than Cupid ever will about love potions. In his vast love machine in downtown Vancouver, the man who brings romance to millions around the world is braced for the most passionate time of the year. Little guilt trips are one ingredient.
PlentyofFish sees spikes in new memberships after most holidays during which families get together, Frind says. Rivals such as Match. Europe, with the exception of the U.
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They initiate as much as men. Vancouverites in their early to mids gravitate more toward online dating than do counterparts in cities such as New York, Toronto or Los Angeles. PlentyofFish was born in when Frind, a graduate of B. Frind, who was then working for a Vancouver-based dot-com, created PlentyofFish in his spare time. Today, he employs about 75 people in a 10,square-foot office dominated by big-screen monitors flashing real-time data on user log-ins, profiles and emails per second.
PlentyofFish built its reputation on an advanced matching system and personalized relationship tests for members. As a pioneering free dating service, it makes most of its money from advertising. But Frind ensures the company is constantly evolving. Those hoping for a fairy tale about how Frind met his own partner through PlentyofFish will be disappointed. In reality, they met at a dot-com where both were employed before he started his company. They spoke online for about a month before going on their first date in January By that time they already had a pretty good sense they had potential for a long-term bond.
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The convicted fraudster Agbonifoayetan posed as a diplomat called Christopher Williams and used a forged United Nations diplomatic card to collect money from two women who had been persuaded that a marine called General James Krulak in one case and General James Raul in the other wanted to move to the UK and marry them. Miles says that after coaxing the victims offline, the typical fraudster will ask for money after a couple of weeks, initially for small amounts. He may say he expects to come to the UK in the coming weeks but plans will be interrupted for some reason — such as a hospital bill being more than expected — and more money will be requested.
Identifying women who have the money to make the fraud worthwhile is the result of an elaborate series of questions designed to elicit the key financial information. In some cases, the victims may be unknowingly talking to more than one person and being asked a set list of questions.
Victims are typically women aged from their mids to mids and looking for companionship. Their operation can be a large-scale skimming exercise, trying the same fraud on 20 or 30 people at any one time in the hope of securing a victim. The money, when transferred, sometimes goes through UK or US bank accounts — in order to give the scheme some credibility — but frequently ends up in west African countries including Ghana and Nigeria, Miles says.
Some of the scammers operate in the UK and they are highly organised, with many people working together, although there is no evidence of a single overall structure behind the scams, Miles says. Among the problems the police face in identifying the fraudsters is the stigma attached to falling for such a scheme. People typically do not believe that they are being scammed, Miles says.
In one case, a person who reported a scam told the fraudster she had complained to the police only to then try to withdraw the complaint after being talked down by the fraudster. Victims, says Miles, are not stupid and may be working in professional jobs. He asked them to pay the transfer fees saying they would be reimbursed. Agbonifoayetan and another suspect met the women a number of times to collect the funds.
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She used up her life savings, pawned jewellery, sold her car and took out loans to pay the costs, which were transferred into accounts in Ghana. Police are now seeking a compensation order to recoup some of the money. And you will be showered with compliments.