In the last few months, people have come to me with some quite shocking and disturbing stories about being scammed online. The most recent one was over the weekend when a lady in her 50s had been duped and scammed by a guy who pretended over a 3 week period to have fallen in love with her.
I know some of you are reading this and saying "she bloody deserves it, I mean, how stupid, did she not see that coming"! This is a very intelligent, smart lady with an exceptionally good job - her downfall was that she was lonely, vulnerable and had never dated online before having recently come out of a 25-year marriage.
What strikes me about the people who have confided in me, is that it's not the money they have lost, but the embarrassment they feel having confided in this person, grew close to them, and spent hours talking to them. They truly believed they had met their soulmate and now their confidence has taken a massive knock and they feel stupid and humiliated.
This report from Professional Security Magazine was printed in October 2020:
"The top five platforms where victims reported first interacting with the criminal committing romance fraud were Facebook, Plenty of Fish, Instagram, Tinder, and Match.com. The Match Group, who own OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder, and Match.com, is running romance fraud protection adverts on its platforms, to inform their users how to spot the signs of romance fraud and how to protect themselves online".
If you are dating online or considering it then please follow the guidelines below:
Be suspicious of any requests for money from someone you have never met in person, particularly if you have only recently met online.
Speak to your family or friends to get advice.
Profile photos may not be genuine, do your research first. Performing a reverse image search on a search engine can find photos that have been taken from somewhere, or someone, else.
If you think you have been a victim of a romance scam, do not feel ashamed or embarrassed - you are not alone. Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk.
No matter how long you have been speaking to someone online and how much you think you trust them, if you have not met them in person it’s important that you DO NOT:
Send them any money
Allow them access to your bank account
Transfer money on their behalf
Take a loan out for them
Provide copies of your personal documents such as passports or driving licenses
Invest your own money on their behalf or on their advice
Purchase and send the codes on gift cards from Amazon or iTunes
Agree to receive and/or send parcels on their behalf (laptops, mobile phones etc.)
If you are a victim of a romance scam and have not divulged this to anyone then please feel free to talk to me: