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I didn’t want to put myself through all that.” The man, 54, from the North East, came across Elite Singles and thought it looked like a better bet for meeting someone more serious about finding a long-term partner.He was also impressed with the advertised fact that 18,000 new members were registering with the site every week – giving the impression that he’d be spoilt for choice of potential dates.One woman who is no stranger to the various pitfalls of dating services is Aileen Edwards, a 61-year-old health worker who cares for dementia sufferers. In her spare time she enjoys theatre, swimming and the great outdoors.She says she “isn’t looking for a major spark” but is searching for a man with a good sense of humour to share her life with. The first blow was when she fell victim to a scammer on an online dating site.Aileen was promised support from Searchmate’s highly experienced team of matchmakers, and a guaranteed minimum of 15 recommendations.Online dating scams: new tricks that fleece victims of an average '£9,589' But in November last year, Aileen felt a growing sense of disappointment as five months had passed and she had yet to meet any men.The site explained that this was down to most of the gentlemen who were active within her area “going on hold”, meaning they could no longer be contacted.
In November she received a letter from a Searchmate adviser saying that her membership was “not progressing as expected”.
But when he paid the money and logged back on, he was crushed to discover that not a single one of the profiles he’d been shown could be contacted.