As Valentines Day approaches scammers will be online aiming to con those genuinely looking for romance out of their hard earned money or personal details.
More and more people are meeting people online, on social networks, through online gaming, dating platforms, anywhere people chat online – and therefore more and more people are building relationships with people they’ve never met in person.
Online dating, for example, is now one of the most common ways to meet a romantic partner. While most users are genuine, unfortunately some are looking to take advantage of individuals looking for love.
Fraudsters have seen how they can take advantage of this and now use fake profiles, fabricate stories, manipulate, and coerce – all with the intention of befriending innocent people on the internet, and with the eventual aim of convincing the innocent person to send them money. This is romance fraud.
The average person loses £10,000 over the period of the scam. In 2021, over £99 million was lost collectively to romance fraud.
Romance fraud can happen to anybody. All genders, ages, sexual orientations. People of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds are victims, with gay men disproportionately targeted, accounting for 12.4% of victims overall in 2021.
Roger Mapleson, Trading Standards and Licensing Lead, said, “Romance fraud is a problem all year and has cost some people an awful lot of money. With Valentines Day on the horizon it’s timely to issue another warning to ensure that no-one falls victim.
“Stay alert to suspicious activity and look for the signs below if you’re unsure. Never part with money or personal details no matter how persuasive they may be.”
Signs to spot a Romance Fraud:
- Before you’ve really got to know them, they declare their love quickly.
- They make excuses why they can’t video chat or meet in person.
- They try quickly to move your conversations off the platform you met on.
- When they ask for financial help, it’ll be for a time-critical emergency, and the reason will pull at the heartstrings.
- They may get defensive if you decline to help.
- They might tell you to keep your relationship private and not to discuss anything with your friends and family.
Read more about this on the CrimeStoppers website.
If you are a victim of Romance Fraud You can contact Crimestoppers on the phone or online – just call free on 0800 555 111 or use their online form here on our website 24/7, 365 days a year.
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