West Mercia Police issue romance fraud warning to online daters in the run up to Valentine's Day - The Worcester Observer

West Mercia Police issue romance fraud warning to online daters in the run up to Valentine's Day

Worcester Editorial 6th Feb, 2022   0

WITH Valentine’s Day approaching, West Mercia Police are warning online daters and their family members to be vigilant to the pitfalls of romance fraud.

Shocking statistics show almost £92million has been lost through dating scams in the last year.

Daters who strike up online relationships between Christmas and Valentines Day tend to be the most susceptible to romance fraud, with a spike of 901 reports recorded by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) in March 2021.

Despite a peak of romance fraud reports and losses of £8.7million reported in March, the financial spike came two months later in May 2021 where losses of a staggering £14.6million were reported.

Romance fraudsters tend to spend weeks gaining their victim’s trust by feeding them fabricated stories about who they are and their lives.

They do not initially ask for money but then make the requests weeks or sometimes months later once the emotional relationship has been formed.

Examples of stories include funding travel to visit the victim, money to pay for emergency medical expenses, lucrative investment opportunities and pretending to be military personnel or working overseas.

People should have adequate privacy settings on their social media accounts to ensure strangers do not have access to personal information.

Friends and family of online daters should make them aware of the scams and stay in contact with them so they can spot changes in behaviour or details that do not seem right.

Police offer these three pieces of advice to online daters –

Stop Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.

Challenge – Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect – Do not feel embarrassed and immediately report suspect romance fraud to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.


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