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ADVICE: Romance fraud warning goes out for Valentine's Day

ADVICE: Romance fraud warning goes out for Valentine's Day

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:28am 14th February 2019. (Updated at 10:24am 14th February 2019)

Devon and Cornwall have put out a warning about romance fraud for Valentine's Day.

It may the day of love but officers say fraudsters often use it to target people through online dating.

Users of dating sites and apps are being urged to be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.

The advice is to always meet them in person in a public place and to let someone know where you are going.

Elspet Wilson fell victim to a fraudster who tricked her put of thousands of pounds.

The 67-year-old met Brian on a dating website.

He said he needed help to get some of his personal belongings back to the UK.

Elspet told ITV News West Country what happened:

"He contacted me and said he was in the army in Syria.

"He said can I send money, about two thousand pounds, but I had to get a loan out.

"I had asked him some questions and he said 'you don't think I would scam you do you?'"

Elspet Wilson, dating fraud victim

Elspet grew suspicious and reported him to the police.

But at that point she had already ended up sending him 10 thousand pounds - from a loan and her pension.

Are you a victim of dating fraud?

  • You’ve developed a relationship with someone you’ve met online via emails, text messages and phone calls.
  • The new love of your life looks like a supermodel in the pictures they send you.
  • They ask you lots of questions about yourself but don’t tell you much about themselves.
  • They quickly start calling you by a pet name or use endearing terms such as ‘darling’.
  • They want to communicate with you through instant messaging and, texts, rather than through the dating website or chat room where you met.
  • They don’t answer basic questions about where they live and work.
  • They start asking you to send them money.

What should you do if you’ve been a victim of dating fraud?

  • Report it to Action Fraud.
  • Break off all contact immediately.
  • Report the fraudster to the website or chat room operator.
  • Do not send any more money.

Protect yourself against dating fraud:

  • Trust your instincts. If you think something feels wrong, it probably is.
  • Guard your privacy.
  • Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust.
  • 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.
  • Never reply to communications from someone who you meet on a dating site or chat room and then wants continue the communication by email.

Source: Action Fraud

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