Love Seekers Lose £100 Million A Year To Romance Fraudsters. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a press release from Crimestoppers UK, which recently launched a campaign warning over romance fraud. It timed as many people mark the new year with a resolution to find love. Crimestoppers is an Independent Charity helping communities Speak up. Stay Safe. Whether young or old, as people make New Year’s resolutions to find love, the charity warns everyone of romance fraudsters. It’s estimated that the average victim loses £10,000 during the period of a dating scam. Across all victims of romance fraud, this equals nearly £100 million loss last year.
Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over 2.2 million actionable calls, resulting in more than 151,00 arrests and charges. Over £139 million worth of stolen goods have been recovered, and over £367 million worth of illegal drugs have been seized.
Love Seekers Lose £100 Million A Year To Romance Fraudsters
Online dating has become one of the most common ways to meet a partner. Whilst most users are genuine, there is a minority who are hunting for an opportunity to take advantage for financial gain. This worrying trend has led Crimestoppers to launch a national campaign to highlight the signs to spot and challenge the stereotype that only women are victims of this cruel scam.
Indeed, it can happen to anyone. Victims come from all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Nearly 45% of victims are men.
Additionally, gay men were disproportionately targeted, accounting for over 12% of victims in 2021.
Mick Duthie, Director of Operations at Crimestoppers, said, “In a changing world, where the first steps of dating are online and no longer face-to-face, it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs.
“You are within your rights to double-check details given by the other person to ensure they’re genuine. Don’t be afraid to challenge if you aren’t sure and your gut instinct tells you something might be wrong.” Our website has handy tips on what to look out for, and you can also download an e-booklet for more details.
“It’s clear that victims are impacted not just financially, but it also takes its toll on their emotional and psychological well-being. Whilst a new year might mean a new you, remember to stop and think and ensure you protect yourself against a potential romance fraudster.”
How Romance Scammers Operate
Fraudsters could be individuals acting alone or, more commonly. They may be part of an international organised crime group. A range of potential victims can be contacted simultaneously. Profiles are carefully tailored to appeal to potential victims who may be lonely or looking for a connection or romantic partner.
The scammers create profiles using fake or stolen images, known as catfishing. They are careful not to set off alarm bells when they ask for money by keeping up stories, dropping pieces of information over time, often months or even years, by building a broader report on why their need is urgent or must be kept a secret. They usually hide behind fake documents and use their victim’s money across complex networks of money mules, cryptocurrency investments, and moving money in and out of the UK.
Despite being underreported, in 2021, reports on romance fraud rose by 30% compared to 2020. This, in turn, was a 20% increase compared to 2019.
Suppose you’ve spotted any warning signs that someone might be at risk of romance fraud. Or know details about the criminals behind it. You can speak up with information to our charity. Tell our UK Contact Centre by calling freephone at 0800 555 111 or fill in our simple and secure anonymous online form on our website.
Stop And Think: Protect Yourself
- Remember, anyone can pretend to be anyone they want online
- Be wary if they’re asking lots of questions about you but not sharing much about themselves
- Take a moment to think before parting with your money or information
- Never send money to someone you’ve only met online that you don’t know
- Never transfer money for them or give them access to your bank account
- Never share personal documents, like your passport or driving licence
Signs To Spot:
- Before you’ve gotten to know them, they declare their love quickly.
- They make excuses about why they can’t video chat or meet in person.
- They try quickly to move your conversations off the platform you met on.
- When they ask for financial help, it’ll be for a time-critical emergency, and the reason will pull at the heartstrings.
- They may get defensive if you decline to help.
- They might tell you to keep your relationship private and not to discuss anything with your friends and family.
Signs To Spot In Someone You Know:
- They may have recently become withdrawn and secretive, not wanting to be heard when on the phone.
- They may show out-of-character concerns with financial affairs—a sudden lack of finances or an unaccountable increase in financial resources.
- Are they making unusual money transfers or unfamiliar international transfers?
- Are they making repeat purchases of gift cards and vouchers?
- Have they become isolated, or have they cut off communication with people close to them who attempt to question their relationship?
Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you’re in Scotland, you can write to Police Scotland by calling 101.
Please note: When you contact Crimestoppers, computer IP addresses are never traced. No one will ever know you got the charity. There is no caller line display for telephone calls, no 1471 facility, and calls have never been traced.
I hope you enjoyed that.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping communities Speak up. Stay safe.’ Our 0800 555 111 telephone number and website Crimestoppers-uk.org gives people the power to speak up and pass on information about crime 100% anonymously. For over 30 years, we have always kept this promise.
Alongside our national campaigns, we have hundreds of volunteers across the UK who help us promote our services to those that need to hear about them. Every region of the UK has a Crimestoppers team responsible for raising awareness of our charity and running local campaigns about issues that affect their area. Around ten people are arrested and charged daily due to information given to Crimestoppers.