September 16th 2014
Dating scammers are using new tactics to lure the victims into handing over money, according the Action Fraud, the country's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre.
Dating fraudsters form online relationships with individuals over weeks and months, before making requests for money when they feel they have established sufficient trust.
Action Fraud's contact centre has logged some new methods used by fraudsters:
Some fraudsters are telling their victims that they do not have enough annual leave remaining to come and visit victims whom they have been speaking with online. However, they claim they can purchase leave from their employer – typically the US armed forces or an engineering company – for around £250 per day, so 10 days will cost £2,500. If the victim falls for this they also ask them to pay for the flight.
'Stuck in customs'
Fraudsters claim they have found a box containing gold, silver, money and jewels (or any one of them) in the desert and have sent it out of the country to set up a future together with the victim. However, this box is now stuck in customs and in order to release it, they claim they have to pay a customs release fee – which is then requested from the victim.
Protect yourself against dating fraud
– Trust your instincts. If you think something feels wrong, it probably is.
– Always guard your privacy online and be careful about what information you share.
– Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust.
– Be aware that someone might tell you they are in the same country as you when they are not.
– Never reply to communications from someone who you meet on a dating site/chat room or social networking website that then wants continue the communication by email, instant messaging or text.
– If you think a profile is fake, check the website for details on reporting it. Usually there will be links or buttons on profiles to block or report individuals.
If you are a victim of dating fraud you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool and receive a police crime reference number.