More and more couples meet online or via dating apps – however, cyber criminals often use these channels to target vulnerable people for financial gain. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the Dating Fraud Partnership has published new advice to help people looking for love avoid becoming a victim of online fraudsters.
People spend much of their lives online, communicating and meeting new people via social networks, and millions of people have found their partners through online dating. Whilst it’s easy to get swept up in the romance of it all and let your heart rule your head, organised criminals target people looking for love. For victims, dating fraud can shatter their lives both financially and emotionally.
To help prevent people looking for love avoid becoming a victim of online fraudsters, the Dating Fraud Partnership has launched the #SafeDating campaign and published the following five #datesafe tips:
- Get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions - don’t rush into an online relationship.
- Check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine.
- Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
- Never send money to someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.
- Don’t move the conversation off the dating site messenger until you’re confident the person is who they say they are. If you do decide to meet in person, make sure the first meeting is in a public place and let someone else know where you’re going to be.
Get Safe Online has more information on safe online dating and will be tweeting advice to protect people from romance fraud using hashtag #safedating. Keep an eye out for the posts and don’t forget to share them.
If you believe you have been the victim of dating fraud, please report it to the dating provider as well as the police.
If you have been the victim of actual or attempted fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting: www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Victim Support also provides free and confidential support to help victims of dating fraud to move on with their lives.