Valentines’ day is around the corner, whilst a time for affection for most be aware that some will try and use this as an opportunity to target people.
Overview of dating and romance scams -
Most UK dating websites and chatrooms are legitimate, but fraudsters have been known to use them to steal people’s money.
Dating and romance scammers lower their target’s defences by building an online relationship, then asking for larger and larger sums of money. Well-meaning men and women have both fallen victim to this. Find out more about dating and romance scams below.
What you should know -
Be wary of giving out personal information on a website or chatroom. Scammers will quickly contact you, often showing you glamorous photos of themselves and gaining your trust.
But how do you know the person you’re talking to (or their photo) is genuine? The answer is that you don’t.
A scammer will make conversation more personal to get information out of you but won’t tell you much about themselves that you can check or verify.
They’ll normally steer you away from chatting on a legitimate dating site that staff could monitor. They want you to talk on email, text and phone, rather than through the dating site or chatroom where you met.
A scammer tells stories to target your emotions and get you to give them money. They may claim they have an ill relative or are stranded in a country they don’t want to be in.
They may not ask you directly for money, hoping instead that you’ll offer it out of the goodness of your heart. You must not.
Never send money abroad to someone you’ve never met. Never send it to anyone you don’t know and trust.
Likewise, never agree to keep your online relationship a secret. This is a ploy to get you not to tell your family and friends, who’ll see the scam for exactly what it is.
Equally, don’t accept any offer of money. A scammer may ask you to accept money from them into your own bank account, using a convincing story as to why they can’t use their own account. The circumstances may seem genuine, but you could unwittingly be laundering money, a criminal offence.
If you suspect fraudulent activity or are concerned for someone you know please report it immediately to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime or 0300 123 2040 unless you are in immediate risk or feel threatened, in which case always call 999.
For more information related to fraud and scams please see on our website
Or see the resources available from action fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/