A WIDOW was conned out of £20,000 by a fraudster she met on a dating website, prompting a police warning for people to be on their guard.
The woman sent payments to a man in Ghana, who claimed he was a widower with a daughter living in London, earlier this year after the pair met last summer.
The victim knew little else about the man, who stated he worked away on business in various countries as a consultant.
Another Worcester woman inadvertently became a “money mule” for a fraudster who obtained funds from other romance scam victims.
She met the man, who said he worked for the UN, on a dating site and received flattering texts and e-mails from him.
The scammer said his bank account wasn’t active while he was ‘on duty’ and that all funds would be paid into her account.
Police have now issued the warning that online romance scams are on the increase and gave tips which include not to post personal information, never send money or give credit card details to strangers and to chose a site which protects your anonymity.
Det Cons Tina Athwal said: “As use of the Internet for dating purposes increases, so do the number of scams associated with it, and the amount of money lost.
“Once fraudsters have gained the trust of their victims, they begin to request money under the guise of various false eventualities.
“These could be anything from a medical problem they have to claiming to be military personnel based overseas and needing funding for flights home or early discharge.
“We are dealing with people who become victims as a result of doing nothing more than look for a relationship and, after believing stories they’ve been told, have parted with large amounts of their hard-earned money.”