Derbyshire Police have reported that daters who strike up online romances at this time of year tend to be more susceptible to romance fraud.
Online fraudsters will create a false profile which includes using a fake profile picture, and they may state that they are highly educated or their job allows them to work overseas- for example, they may say they are in the army or a business person. Other signs for potential fraudsters can include poor grammar or seemingly unrealistic stories about their travel experiences.
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They will begin by asking all the right questions to gain the victim’s trust, but unbeknown to the victim, this is not because they are genuinely interested in them, but to be able to manipulate them later on into parting with their money. This communication can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in order to get the victim to develop genuine feelings.
Once the fraudster thinks they have gained the victim’s trust, they will begin to use a range of stories to get the victim to transfer them money without raising suspicion. This could be anything from asking for money to pay for emergency medical care, asking the victim to transfer money to buy a plane or train ticket so that they can meet, or asking for a short-term loan which they promise they will pay back.
Remember that fraudsters know just how to exploit their victims, so a victim may be adamant that their new love is genuine and may avoid telling friends and family things which may arouse suspicion.
If you think that you, or someone you know, may be a victim of romance fraud, please report it to Derbyshire Police using one of the following methods:
Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter – direct message their contact centre on @DerPolContact
Website – complete the online contact form here
Phone – call on on 101.
You should also report this to Action Fraud via their website.