Greater Manchester Police is supporting a nationwide ‘Get Safe Online: Romance Fraud Campaign.’
Romance Fraud involves a victim being tricked on the basis of feigned romantic feelings by gaining their affection and using that goodwill to commit fraud against them.
Action Fraud recently announced that a report of romance fraud is recorded every three hours in the UK.
Detective Inspector Martin Hopkinson said: “Romance Fraud is a particularly cruel crime, where victims are lulled into a false understanding of an online relationship. Commonly, the offender will create a sad story in order to gain the sympathy of their victim; they then proceed to ask for money to help their ‘desperate’ situation.
“The victims of these crimes are looking for genuine companionship or love, but instead find themselves taken advantage of and often left in financial difficulty. “This campaign identifies the obvious signs to look out for if you think you or somebody you know could be a potential victim of this crime, as well as advice on what to do next.”
Users of online dating sites are encouraged to look out for other members claiming to be ex-service men or women, recently widowed, or in a desperate situation such as caring for a sick relative. Conversation will often be moved to private email or messaging, when requests for money then follow.
If you are concerned that you or someone that you know is a victim of Romance Fraud, you can call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency. If you suspect fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.