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Protect yourself from romance fraud

Published on 13 February 2024 12:28 PM

Nearly a third of people targeted by cruel romance scams are over 65 according to a Nationwide survey and in some months, more money is lost to romance fraud in Barnet than any other scam. Here's how to protect yourself from romance and dating fraud.

Dating online is now one of the most popular ways for new couples to meet, with millions of people finding new relationships, romance and love this way. Unfortunately, amongst the genuine profiles are fake profiles set up by fraudsters. They are after your money, not your love. They are masters of manipulation, playing on your good nature and emotions to ultimately steal your money.
Criminals will build a relationship with online members, quickly asking to move communication off the dating website. This is so they can continue their contact with you, even if their profile is later identified by the site as fraudulent and subsequently deleted.

Fraudsters are often very flattering, appearing really interested in you within a short space of time. However, they will use a range of excuses as to why they can’t meet in person, such as they are stuck overseas, have a family emergency or have an issue with their business. They then start asking for money to help with their problems, assuring you they will pay it back as soon as they can.

The fraudster may claim to be desperate to meet you as soon as this obstacle is overcome. This is all a scam and their true intention is to take as
much money from you as they can.

How to Protect Yourself
 Stay on site.
 Keep all communication on the dating website you are using. Don’t be convinced by profile pictures - they may have been taken from somewhere else on the internet. 

 Do your own research on the person – are they members of any other social networking sites? Can you confirm what they are telling you about themselves, such as where they work or where they live?
 Never send money to someone you have not met in person and be extremely wary of giving money to someone you have recently started a relationship with.
 Be wary of anyone asking you to receive money on their behalf and transfer it on. They may be using you to launder money.
 Talk to family and friends for advice, even if the other party is asking you to keep the relationship secret.
 Watch the Metropolitan Police video on Romance Fraud at

REMEMBER - Stay on site! Never send money to someone you have not met in person, or receive/ transfer money on their behalf.
CAUTION - Be wary of continuing the relationship away from the dating website you initially made contact on.
THINK - Why are they so quick to declare their love for me? How do I know they are telling me the truth?

Age UK Barnet Scams Prevention Service

You can find more support and advice by talking to our scams awareness team - click here for more details. You can also check out the latest scams here.