Catfishing Fraud - 1070/19

Date Responded 27 September 2019

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:


I am collating statistics from all 43 police forces in England and Wales regarding the surge in ‘Romance Fraud’, that is, fraud committed by targeting and preying on vulnerable women. On many occasions fraud is committed under the Fraud Act 2006 where the perpetrator obtains a gain and the victim a loss.

Additionally, perpetrators create and utilise fake accounts on certain dating sites and begin intimate relationships with their targets where no notifiable crime is committed under NCRS.

Using your search filters, could you please provide the following information under the FOIA?

For the following financial years: 2014 - 15 / 2015 - 16 / 2016 - 17 / 2017 - 18 / 2018 - 2019

  1. Number of notifiable crimes under heading, including any reports of rape subject to a crime report
  2. Number of non-crime incidents, including rape

To clarify I am seeking information on the following offences; Rape, fraud, theft along with reports involving Catfishing that did not result in a crime being submitted that alleged the aforementioned offences.

You then provided further clarification as follows:

“In relation to Catfishing I am looking to establish the number of crimes and incidents for the years shown, these are:

Rape and fraud (crimes). Rape and fraud (reported incidents) that were not recorded as crimes.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

It should be noted that data supplied below are the results for a search the MO field and incident description going back to April 2014 for the words 'romance', 'catfish' and cat fish'.  Those results have then been reviewed to see if they fit the criteria of your FOI request.  As with any keyword search, the search will only return exact matches within the Crime MO.  This does not account for differences in terminology and/or spelling used.  Also, we cannot search the crime investigation screens/additional information screens, if the terms are not used within the MO the crime will not be identified.




Offence Recorded


Victim blackmailed following sending intimate video. No physical intervention

Public Order Distress


IP receives facebook message from offender appearing to be male from Nigeria.  Engages in conversation via FB, states he loves IP, asks for $1000. No physical intervention

Fraud by False Rep





Offence Recorded


Report of Fraud.  Victim of Romance/Money laundering scam, allegedly with US soldier. No physical intervention

No offence attached

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