• By Lo Chi and Jason Pan / Staff reporters

An increasing number of men this year have been defrauded in a scheme in which a woman befriends them online before convincing them to meet and buy cosmetics, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said.

With more people staying inside and spending time online amid a level 3 COVID-19 alert, there have been more reports of men being targeted through dating sites and forums, officials said.

In the first half of the year, the committee has received about 80 complaints related to consumer disputes, matching the number of such reports for all of last year, they said.

About 60 percent of these cases involved men buying cosmetic products and services after meeting with women on the pretense of forming a personal relationship, they added.

These meetings turn into sales pitches, in which the target is tricked into purchasing cosmetics, and in some cases committing…

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