Dorset police have warned about romance fraud after 111 people fell victim in the area last year.
Out of those victims, a combined amount of £1.9 million was lost between November 2020 and October 2021, according to Action Fraud.
Dorset police are urging people on Twitter to ‘stop and think’ before parting with their money.
There were 111 reports of #RomanceFraud in our area between November 2020 and October 2021 with losses of £1.9 million 💔 Nationally, there were 8,863 reports with losses totalling £91.9 million.
Stop and think before parting with your money. Report to https://t.co/vPUGe2gHeb
— Dorset Police (@dorsetpolice) January 23, 2022
On a global scale, 8,863 cases of fraud have been reported, with a total of 91.9 million lost.
Stevie Corbin-Clarke, an advisor at the BU Scam and Fraud Department, said that it is “heartbreaking’ that these scams still happen”.
She added that these numbers are probably higher than the statistics show.
She said: “These types of scams are particularly embarrassing for people to talk about.
“I think those numbers are probably a lot higher because people are scared to report it, so I am sure it is even bigger than we can imagine.”
Romance fraud involves tricking a person into a romantic online relationship and getting them to send money to the scammer under false intentions. This would be through emotive language expressing that they need the money, often for emergencies.
How can you notice if you are falling victim to romance fraud?
According to Stevie, no case is the same, but there are some ‘tell-tale signs’.
She explained: “With romance scams, they are often use grooming techniques.
“They will make you feel really special, trying to build up a real strong emotional bond really quickly.”
Often scammers will want to leave the dating site quite soon to somewhere not regulated. They will also not like to video call and only send a few photos or reveal specific personal details.
If you have been a victim of romance fraud, you can report it through the Action Fraud website.