Stay safe this Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is almost upon us, and as thoughts turn to finding love, we need to remember to exercise caution. It's not just your heart that's at risk.

For information and advice about safe online dating, click here

Take the 48 year-old woman in Australia, for example, who is reported by ABC News this week to have lost the equivalent of over £325,000 in an elaborate online dating scam.

According to Adelaide police, the woman fell victim to dating scammers late in 2011. In a year, she was duped into sending over £50,000 to a man, communicating with him on Skype. Then, in 2012, she was contacted by someone claiming to be a lawyer who told her that she had been a victim of a dating scam and offering to help her recover her money. She sent more than £250,000 to the bogus lawyer over the next few weeks. Police believe that the scammers are based abroad, possibly in Nigeria.

The victim may have been on the other side of the globe, but such scams are commonplace the world over, including here in the UK. Last October this site reported the plight of 42 year-old Basingstoke woman Alison Peters, who was defrauded of £120,000 by romance fraudsters.

Onlline fraudsters – including those perpetrating romance scams – are becoming ever more ingenious in their methods. So however much you believe that the person with whom you are developing an online relationship is genuine, do look out for telltale signs that they may be trying to defraud you. Click here for all the details.

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