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Warning! Dating Fraud

Romance Fraud: how and why to protect yourself

The very idea of Romance Fraud makes me squirm – what has the world come to? Last week my father received a communication from Surrey Police, warning about the very real presence of Romance Fraud in our community. This is not a new crime but it does seem to be one that is on the rise with the increase in Social Media usage.

Unfortunately, whilst the internet is probably considered to be one of the greatest advances of the 20th century, it does come with a new set of social and financial risks.  

We have all heard about how our personal details that we input online can be passed on for marketing purposes etc and that, as such, our identities are ‘out there in cyber space’. Where we live, places that we visit, our likes and dislikes, date of birth, even bank details. Whilst a lot of this can be harmless, our identities are being more and more exposed.  

woman and man kissing passionately
Opportunists who want to exploit a person’s identity, steal money or pretend to be someone they are not have surely found how easy this can be online. They can remain anonymous, create a false identity and appear, from behind a screen, to be whoever they want. This can range from pretending to have a fancy car to impress a potential love interest to creating an entirely fictitious life.

So how can we guard against such risks?

Taking some basic precautions and having awareness is paramount.
  • Be wary of someone who asks a lot of personal questions but who gives away very little about themselves
  • Never react to requests online to transfer money to someone or to provide them with your bank details
  • Be cautious if you are chatting online to someone who keeps on making excuses not to meet in person
  • If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is! If someone’s life sounds like a fantasy world then perhaps that is the case.
  • If you wish to use dating sites then try to keep all communication via the site itself rather than accepting premature requests to communicate via other apps (Whatsapp etc).
If you have any doubts or concerns about yourself, a friend or loved one, then do not hesitate to contact your local authorities.
Watch this extraordinary video of one woman’s experience.
Whilst the danger is real, there are still a lot of decent folk out there, with genuine intentions so hopefully despite all of this we can remain open minded, communicative and approachable! One of the reasons that I believe in the matchmaking process is because I know that by filtering potential love interests for my clients, I am minimising the risk of them suffering from Romance Fraud. Everyone that I work with has a visual character assessment, is identity checked and contractually commits to providing true information about themselves.
Have you had an unpleasant experience like this online? We would love to hear your stories and perhaps help someone else to avoid the same unpleasant situation.
Thank you to our wonderful Matchmaker Nicole Izod for this piece.
Nicole is our dating expert.
Speak with her to find your perfect match.

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