Action Fraud are reporting a 26% year on year increase in romance scams, and the average victim loss is over £10,000. Romance or dating fraud occurs when a victim falls for an online partner, but they are using a fake profile to seduce you and are solely interested in stealing your cash. It occurs through social media platforms such as Facebook, dating sites such as match.com or Tinder and even gaming sites. The fraudsters gain the victim’s trust over several weeks or months and create the idea of a loving and caring relationship, once this is achieved a sudden urgent need for cash will arise. Very ill family members are a favourite. Covid has made it harder for us all to socialise and more of us are using online sites to interact. Sadly, this is feeding this problem and all of us need to make sure we follow the rules below to stay safe.
FALL FOR THE PERSON NOT THE PROFILE
Tips and Advice
- Don’t overshare – When interacting with someone online that you have never met be careful not to reveal your full name, date of birth and home address. Fraudsters are out there looking for this information so that they can steal your identity
- Communicate safely – If you’re using a dating site then do not go outside of the messaging service until you have met in person. Pressure to communicate outside of such services should be seen as a red flag
- Avoid secrecy – Be very wary of anyone who insists on you keeping the “developing relationship” secret. Fraudsters like to operate without friends or family giving a different view and possibly popping their made-up love balloon
- Don’t send money – or allow access to your accounts, make investments they recommend or even send codes for Amazon gift cards etc. Real relationships are based on a lot more than money
- Report it! – All social media and dating platforms have a reporting tool to report anybody that is behaving suspiciously. Please use this feature and help others stay safe
- Contact – your bank or credit card company if you are worried about having given out financial details
- ID Protection – If you’re worried about identity fraud and would like to protect your identity contact CIFAS
- Still Unsure? – Join Reassura 0800 888 6400 and one of our fraud advisors will help you to stay safe
- To report a fraud – and receive a police crime reference number call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool
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