Romance Fraud: how and why to protect yourself
The very idea of Romance Fraud makes most of us squirm – what has the world come to? The Police regularly warn 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 and online dating.
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.
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.
- Stop and think if you feel like you are being swept off your feet.
- Use social media to your benefit and to check out if the person you are dating is who they say they are. Check out LinkedIn to see previous jobs and contacts.
- 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 real concerns you can always ask the police for some advice, but if you are having strong feelings, act upon them. If you are doubting someone, is it worth the risk of continuing? Speak to friends and family.