22 May 2014, 09:13
New online daters are being conned out of money in the East Midlands and detectives in Derbyshire are calling it romance fraud.
That's when you send money to someone you've met online but have never met in real life.
One woman, only known as Maggie, sent £20,000 to a man pretending to be in the US army. He asked for money to cover air travel and legal fees, all of which was false.
Maggie's story told by an actress
Romance Fraud - Don't be a victim
Derbyshire detectives are urging anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of this fraud not to send any further funds and to break all contact immediately before reporting the fraudster to the website or chat room operator.
Officers are advising the following top tips to encourage people to protect themselves from becoming a victim of romance fraud:
- Always trust your instincts. If you think something feels wrong, it probably is
- Guard your privacy and be wary about revealing too much about yourself
- Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust
- Communicate with people locally and not from overseas, although you should be aware that someone might tell you they are in the same country as you when they are not
- Never reply to communications from someone who you meet on a dating site or chat room and then wants continue the communication by email