Online dating or relationship scams

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The majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, but you need to be careful of criminals who use convincing fake profiles and are not who they say they are.

They will build what feels like a genuine loving relationship to gain your trust. Once they have achieved this, they will create fake stories of problems they are experiencing to convince you to send them money.

They may do one of the following:

  • arrange to visit you, but require money to pay for the flight
  • tell you everything has been booked but their ticket has been stolen and you need to send more money quickly to get them on the next flight
  • prey on your sympathies by telling you that they or someone they are responsible for is ill and they need money for urgent medical treatment and promise to pay you back.

By now you trust them, so you offer to help. Once you send them money, they will keep coming back and invent new reasons to send them more.

Fraudsters may also use the conversations you find out enough personal information about you to commit identity fraud. They’ll ask innocent questions about you that make it look like they just want to get to know you, such as your date of birth, home address or family background.

Date safely online

You should never:

  • reveal too much personal information, such as your home address or your date of birth
  • reveal any financial details and never send them money
  • click on links or open attachments in emails from someone you’ve just met on a dating site.

Kent Police have a lot of advice for what to do if you or someone you know may be affected by a relationship scammer, and how to report it.