As part of Stamp out Fraud action week, Derbyshire Constabulary have launched an online video to give residents an insight into a victim’s account of romance fraud.
Maggie Philips (this is not her real name) sent more than £20,000 to a fraudster over several months after being contacted on an online dating site.
The conman posed as a US Army Major and developed a relationship with Maggie online and over the phone. He then proceeded to ask for money to cover air travel and legal fees, all of which was false.
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.