The majority of profiles on dating websites are genuine, but fraudsters may try to contact you through a fake account in order to develop what feels like a loving relationship.
Several weeks or months later, once the fraudster is confident that they’ve won your trust, they will tell you about a problem they’re experiencing and ask you to help out by sending money.
They may have arranged to visit you, but need money to pay for the flight or visa. They may tell you everything has been booked but their ticket has been stolen, and you need to send money quickly to get them on the next flight.
Alternatively they may prey on your sympathies, telling you a family member or someone else they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment.
Once you send them money, the fraudsters will keep coming back and invent new reasons to send them more.
- Get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions - don’t rush into an online relationship.
- Check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine
- Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
- Never send money to someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.
- Don’t move the conversation off the dating site messenger until you’re confident the person is who they say they are.