Sadly, fraud is on the rise, and vulnerabilities are being preyed on to victimise unsuspecting individuals. Surrey Police shared the unsettling story of one man who fell victim to a heartbreaking instance of a scam.
The 53-year-old man had been through a divorce, and turned to dating sites in the hope of finding love again.
Setting up a profile, he hoped to build a new relationship and start over again.
So, he was delighted when he was contacted by a woman and sparked up a conversation.
The woman claimed to be from Spain but living in the US, and frequently sent him photos. However, he never saw the woman in real life or via video.
But for those who have fallen victim to scams of this kind, the consequences can be distressing.
Romance fraud is thought to be one of the fastest growing types of crime impacting vulnerable people.
At first, fraudsters will not ask people for money, and seek to build up a relationship with them, playing on emotions and attempting to establish trust.
It is once this is done that scammers can more easily hook their victims, as by this time their claims can have greater plausibility.
As a result, people should always take precautions to protect themselves from being targeted in this way.
Surrey Police states: “Don’t rush into an online relationship – get to know the person, not the profile. Ask plenty of questions.
“Analyse their profile – confirm the person’s identity. Check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly-used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine.”
Individuals should always be wary about the personal information they give out, and seek to stay on the legitimate dating website – as this can be monitored.
Surrey Police states fraudsters often target emotions to get Britons to part with their money – but people should never do this.
Similarly, a red flag is a person asking lots of questions in attempts to get personal information, but not providing much about themselves in return.
Those who believe romance fraud is taking place can report the matter to Action Fraud.
It is likely the organisation will take further action to prevent individuals from being victimised.