A national scam is taking advantage of online daters. Here’s what it looks like and some advice to help you safely date online:
Male fraudsters are setting up profiles of women on dating sites to attract and manipulate vulnerable victims. Once a fraudster using a fake dating profile is confident that they’ve won your trust, they will tell you about a problem they are experiencing and ask you to help out by sending money. Once you send them money, the fraudsters will keep coming back and invent new reasons for you to send them more and more money.
The majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, but fraudsters are also using these sites to contact victims. They create fake profiles, make contact with others on the site and build what feels like a loving relationship.
How to avoid becoming a victim:
• Never give money to people you meet online, no matter what emotional story the person uses.
• Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
• Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
• Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters tend to want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of them asking you for money.
• If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.