Romance Fraud

One victim reports dating fraud every three hours according to the latest national figures from City of London Police

On average fraudsters ask their victims to transfer money within one month of first contact.

Almost half (45%) of victims indicated that dating fraud had a ‘significant’ impact on their health or financial wellbeing

The average amount lost by a dating fraud victim in the UK is £10,000

New multi-agency partnership created to work with the Online Dating Association to reduce the number of people who fall victim to dating fraud

 

Every day, seven reports of dating fraud are received by Action Fraud – on average one every three hours – an increase of 32% over a two year period (from January 2013-December 2015) according to new national figures released today by City of London Police (CoLP).

In less than one month - 30 days - of contact, the average victim of dating fraud will make their first transfer of money to the fraudster, (2) demonstrating how quickly and easily these situations can escalate, and will lose £10,000. (3)  On average it takes only nine more days before a report is made to Action Fraud about the fraudulent activity (4).

Between 2015 and 2016 nearly £40 million (5) was lost through dating fraud with 3,889 reports (6) made in total. However, evidence suggests that this doesn’t accurately represent the true scale of dating fraud due to the embarrassment felt by some victims of fraud which can discourage them from coming forward to report their experience. Almost half (45%) of victims who reported to Action Fraud said that the crime had a ‘significant’ impact on their health or financial wellbeing (7).

Victim Support (VS) and Age UK along with the City of London Police, London Metropolitan Police (FALCON) (8) and Get Safe Online will, in a first for the UK, all work in partnership with the Online Dating Association to better understand how fraudsters operate and how they can most effectively share safety messages to users of online dating sites and apps with the aim of reducing the number of people falling victim to fraud.

The partnership will bring together leaders from multiple sectors: technology; law enforcement and the charity sector, bringing expertise to the issue, and working together collaboratively for the first time. They will also widely publicise five #datesafe tips across their websites and social media platforms for users of dating sites and apps.

#datesafe tips

  1. Get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions - don’t rush into an online relationship.
  2. 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
  3. Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
  4. Never send money to someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.
  5. Don’t move the conversation off the dating site messenger until you’re confident the person is who they say they are.

 

Date Fraud - Poster

Date Fraud - Poster (PDF)

Date Fraud - Leaflet

Date Fraud - Leaflet (PDF)