Police and fraud investigators are hunting conmen who dupe young women out of thousands of pounds by posing as sugar daddies on internet dating websites.

At least 40 women have become victims of the “sugar daddy scammers” but many more are thought to be too embarrassed to come forward.

Several legitimate websites, such as Seeking Arrangement, provide a matchmaking service for those looking for a wealthy older person willing to lavish them with gifts and even a regular allowance in return for dates. Seeking Arrangement (now called Seeking), which was founded by the American businessman Brandon Wade in 2006, claims to have signed up more than 500,000 British university students.

Having struck up an online relationship, the fake sugar daddies trick their victims, who are

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