Action Fraud has encouraged people to understand the threats posed by romance scams.
Love cheating is when criminals force people to send them money after convincing the victim that they are in a real relationship.
The criminal will usually go out of their way to gain the victim’s trust so that monetary claims will not sound the alarm bells and will usually seek financial assistance such as emergency medical expenses or transportation costs to visit the victim abroad.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime and encourages people to report if they have been a victim of love scams.
Victims should contact their bank immediately and report action fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk.
Victims in Scotland should report directly to the Scotland Police by calling 101.
Action Fraud lists the following pieces of advice on their website for anyone who thinks they or someone they know is involved in romance scams.
Signs that your friend or family member may be involved in a love scam:
- They can keep their relationship very secret or provide excuses for why their online partner didn’t video call them or meet them in person. They may become hostile or angry and withdraw from the conversation if you ask questions about their partner
- They can express very strong emotions and commitment to someone they have just met
- You have sent money to someone you haven’t met personally or are planning to do so. They can take out a loan or withdraw from their pension to send money.
Here’s how users can protect themselves from romance scams:
- Be suspicious of requests for money from someone you’ve never met in person, especially if you’ve only recently met online.
- Talk to your family or friends for advice.
- Profile photos may not be real, do your research first. A reverse image search on a search engine can find photos that were taken by somewhere or by someone else.
It’s important that no matter how long you’ve talked to someone online, and how much you trust them, the important thing is that if you haven’t met them in person, the important thing is that you don’t:
- Allow them to access your bank account
- Transfer money on their behalf
- Provide copies of your personal documents such as passports or driver’s licenses
- Invest your own money on their behalf or on their advice
- Buy and send codes on gift cards from Amazon or iTunes
- Agree to receive and / or send packages on your behalf (laptops, cell phones, etc.)
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