Action Fraud is reminding everyone how to stay safe from fraudsters this Valentines Day with some top tips to protect yourself.
A romance scam is a confidence trick where think you have met the love of your life online but they actually don’t exist and are most likely a criminal gang out to gain your trust and get you to send them money.
In the last twelve months there have been over 1000 reports to Action Fraud on this type of scam. By following some of our top tips you can help prevent this from happening to you.
Protect yourself from romance fraudsters:
• Don’t put yourself and your identity in jeopardy by trusting people too quickly – be cautious when getting to know people and trust your instincts.
• Protect your privacy and do not reveal too much information online, especially on social networks.
• Never send any money to people you have not met; fraudsters often demand money for a variety of emotive reasons.
• If you use internet dating, keep all communication via that website – avoid using personal email addresses or social networks.
• Communicate with people locally and not from overseas, although you should be aware that someone might tell you they are in the same country as you when they are not.
• If you believe you’ve been a victim of a romance scam report it to Action Fraud.
Head of Economic Crime at the City of London Police, Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Shaw, said: “More and more people are going online in search of someone special with the hope of forming a new relationship. What they are not expecting is to be preyed upon by cold-hearted and calculated fraudsters who are experts in turning people’s dreams into nightmares.
“Using internet dating sites is still a safe way to meet people but it is very important to be aware of the warning signs that may indicate a new friend is not all that they seem. Keeping this in mind when you go online will ensure you spot a fraudster coming and immediately shut them down and move on".
For more on information visit the City Of London Police website.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.
If you are a victim of fraud you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.