Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.
Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real people.
They might claim they need money to pay for medical treatment or claim financial hardship. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. This is a form of money laundering and is a criminal offence – never agree to transfer money on someone else’s behalf.
The warning signs
Dating and romance scammers will often express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time.
After gaining your trust they tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/credit card details.
Who to contact if this has happened to you?
You can report it in confidence to us or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Avoid giving personal details online such as your full name, date of birth or address. These are the most common details used to steal someone’s identity. Don’t forget, never send money to someone you haven’t met in person. And you should always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear.
Always pick a reputable dating website and use their messaging service. Never give your own personal e-mail or mobile phone number out until you are satisfied that they are genuine.
Cut all communication with them and consider reporting them to the website/app you are using as this could prevent someone else falling victim to them.