Beware of Romance Scammers seeking money
13 Feb 2020
As Valentine's Day is upon us, Northumberland Trading Standards has issued a timely warning to those looking for love. Whether you are looking for a partner or just a friend, you would never expect to become a victim of a scam. However, there are criminals out there who will use romance to commit fraud and could lead you to lose your savings. Similar to the quote ‘buyer beware’, you should also question whether ‘something is too good to be true’, when approached by an over eager person claiming to be looking for love.
The wide access to personal information through social media makes it easier for scammers to find their targets. Contact can be received from anyone around the world who could have already identified what you like, dislike, where you visit, go on holiday or what music you enjoy.
When browsing dating sites, your profile is matched with others. Not everyone is truthful online, and the photographs provided might not be of the person you are communicating with.
The scammers will look to form a relationship then tell an upsetting story that is aimed at eliciting sympathy and, more importantly money. These stories include tales about how they are looking after a family member but cannot afford it, or that they have legal or other problems. Alternatively they may want money to get a passport so they can visit you. Or they may be trying to get away from a violent partner or situation. If you pay then the stories can become more elaborate and they will try to get more money.
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet member for public protection said:
“ These scammers will pursue their victims for all the money they can get. Unfortunately when this is found to be a scam the money is long gone and cannot be returned. In instances like this, never send money online to someone you have never met.”
Anyone who feels they have been scammed or are aware of someone who could have been should report this to Action Fraud by email https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Or telephone 0300 123 2040