Saturday, July 11, 2020

Don’t let a scammer be your Valentine – Lincolnshire Trading Standards issues romance fraud warning

Across the UK victims of romance fraud lose an estimated £50m each year. Now, Lincolnshire Trading Standards is advising those who are looking to start a new relationship online or via a dating app to watch out for the scam.

Sally Gray, senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, explains: “Online dating can be a great way to find romance and companionship.

“Unfortunately it’s also a very common way for scammers to target people, try and form relationships, and ultimately steal money from you.”

The council has shared the story of Tracey*, a Lincoln woman who fell for the charms of a scammer she met online.

“A man on Facebook asked to be my friend, and I was in a bad place at the time so I thought ‘well, there’s nothing wrong with having a male friend,'” Tracey said. “So I started chatting with him and straight away he kind of started to get friendly with me, and it progressed.”

The scammer coaxed Tracey away from Facebook and onto a private messaging app, where their conversations could get more personal, and would be encrypted and untraceable.

As the relationship progressed, Tracey began to notice what she called ‘discrepancies’ in her conversations with him, and when he sent her a copy of a flight ticket he said he’d bought to come and visit her.

“I started to get suspicious, so I researched him and, eventually that’s how I found him out,” she says.

When Tracey realised she’d fallen for a scammer, she was devastated. “He’d made me fall in love with him and when I found out I was just heartbroken completely. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that.

“It made me feel worthless and it made me feel ugly.”

Tracey is reluctant to disclose how much money she sent to the fraudster before finding him out.

Sally Gray continued: “Unfortunately, the shame and humiliation victims of fraud feel means they often are afraid to get help and report their scammer. As such, we may never know the full extent of the problem.

“There are steps you can take to keep yourself, your family and friends safe from scammers online, and I’d urge residents to be careful not to fall for a scammer, at Valentine’s Day, or any other time of year.”

If you have you think you have been the victim of fraud, or you know this is happening to someone, contact the Police on 101 or report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

If somebody has been affected by fraud and scams – even if they have chosen not to report the crime to the police – Victim Lincs can provide emotional support and practical advice. You can contact the service at 01522 947510 or victim@lincs.pnn.police.uk.

Five tips to help you steer clear of a romance fraud:

  1. Take your time. Get to know the person and ask plenty of questions.
  2. Analyse their profile. Check the person is genuine by putting their details (photo and name) in to Google. Also put the phrase ‘dating scam’ in next to their details.
  3. Talk more. Talk to your friends and family about who you are talking to online. Be suspicious of anyone who asks you to keep quiet about your relationship.
  4. Don’t give money. Never send money or share your bank details with someone you’ve met online.
  5. Don’t overshare personal details. Revealing your full name, date of birth, home address or workplace could lead to fraud, identity theft or even personal harm. Protect the names, details, and locations of your children or family members.

*Tracey’s name has been changed to protect her identity. 

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £27.55 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Advertisment








Latest posts

Step inside this serene family home

Boasting open farmland views of Fenland Countryside, this idyllic detached period farmhouse is placed on a 0.65-acre plot down a quiet lane, close to...

University Centre completes in Grantham

Work to create a University Centre to deliver higher education and skills training in Grantham is now complete. Degrees, high-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses...

Greater Lincolnshire receives £25.8m in ‘new deal’

The Greater Lincolnshire LEP has received a £25.8 million cash boost from the Government to fund ‘shovel-ready’ projects to help the local economy and...

Scunthorpe’s Church Square to be transformed into urban park

Church Square in Scunthorpe’s High Street will undergo a dramatic redevelopment as North Lincolnshire Council is to create an urban park at the centre...

Lincoln Christmas Market cancelled as coronavirus crisis continues

Lincoln Christmas Market 2020 has been cancelled due to the ongoing threat of the UK’s coronavirus crisis. City of Lincoln Council has made the difficult...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close