More than £175,000 has been stolen from Scots in the north-east of the country through romance fraud over the past year.
Police have issued a warning over the scammers who create fake profiles on dating sites and social media apps.
The fraudsters are often very flattering, appearing extremely interested within a short space of time.
However, they’ll use a range of excuses as to why they can’t meet – before asking for money with a promise to pay it back.
Since August 2019, police in the north-east of the country have received 23 reports of dating fraud – with more than £175,000 stolen.
Police believe the crime is “largely unreported”.
Detective sergeant John Lumsden said: “Romance fraud can have a shattering effect on people who may be embarrassed they’ve fallen victim to a scam and don’t want to speak about their experience.
“Criminals can be extremely convincing. They prey on people who are emotionally vulnerable, particularly online.
“It can be easy to get caught up with the attention you receive but it’s important to stop and think if a stranger’s actions are genuine.”
Types of romance fraud
- Foot-in-the door: The perpetrator will initially ask for a small sum before manufacturing new or escalating crises to obtain larger amounts of money.
- Face-in-the-door: The perpetrator will initially ask for a sum of money so extreme most people will refuse. They will then ask for a modest amount to persuade the victim to part with their money.
- Webcam blackmail.
- Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met, or even recently met, regardless of the story they tell you. If someone asks you for money, report it to the dating platform immediately.
- Never share personal information. Fraudsters can use it to obtain credit in your name.
- Never share explicit photos.
If you have been a victim of romance fraud, call 101.
For more information, click here.