Romance scams involve people being duped into sending money to criminals who go to great lengths to gain their trust and convince them that they are in a genuine relationship. They use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise alarm bells. These requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit the victim if they are overseas. Scammers will often build a relationship with their victims over time.
Here at Valkyrie, we have had several enquiries about Romance Fraud and it is becoming a huge issue globally. Women in their 50s and men in their 20s are the biggest victims of online dating fraud.
How users can stay safe from romance scams:
Be suspicious of any requests for money from someone you have never met in person, particularly if you have only recently met online.
Speak to your family or friends to get advice.
Profile photos may not be genuine, do your research first. Performing a reverse image search on a search engine can find photos that have been taken from somewhere, or someone, else.
It is important that no matter how long you’ve been speaking to someone online and how much you think you trust them, if you have not met them in person, it’s important that you do not:
Send them any money
Allow them access to your bank account
Transfer money on their behalf
Take a loan out for them
Provide copies of your personal documents such as passports or driving licenses
Invest your own money on their behalf or on their advice
Purchase and send the codes on gift cards from Amazon or iTunes
Agree to receive and/or send parcels on their behalf (laptops, mobile phones etc.)
If you need any advice, please contact me.