Dating and romance fraud
Many dating websites and chat rooms operate legitimately in the UK. However, individuals using them may try to scam you.
Dating and romance scammers lower your defences by building an online relationship with you. Many people, both men and women, have lost huge amounts of money to online dating scammers. Always consider your personal safety if you arrange to meet someone through a dating website.
What you should know
Be wary of giving out personal information on a website or chat room. Scammers will quickly interact with you, often showing you glamorous photos of themselves and gaining your trust. But how do you know it is actually the person you are communicating online with? The probable answer is that you do not. Scammers will make conversation more personal to draw information from you, but will never really tell you much about themselves that can be checked or verified.
Scammers will normally try to steer you away from communicating on a legitimate dating website that could be monitored by staff. Their preference is to communicate via email, text and possibly phone, rather than through the dating website or chat room where you met.
A scammer will use a variety of scenarios to target your emotions and get you to part with your money (e.g. they have an ill relative or they are stranded in a country they don’t want to be in and need money). THESE ARE SCAMS.
Never send money abroad to a person you have never met or to anyone you don’t actually know and trust.
Scammers will sometimes tell you to keep your online relationship a secret. Never agree to this. This is a ploy to get you not to tell your family and friends who will see the scam for exactly what it is.
The scammer may ask you to accept money from them into your own bank account. They will come up with a convincing story as to why they can’t use their own bank account i.e. discharge fee from their current job, medical care or to pay for essential goods. The circumstances may appear to be genuine; but you may be committing a criminal offence of money laundering.
GetSafeOnline have further comprehensive and free advice on safe online dating on their website.