Don’t fall for romance fraud this Valentine’s Day

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, is encouraging people to spot the signs of romance fraud this Valentine’s Day.

Romance fraud is when a fraudster pretends to have romantic interest in someone after meeting online in order to steal their money, or to trick them into laundering money on their behalf.

They will usually build up the relationship over time, telling stories that target people’s emotions to get them to give money. Often they will claim to have a sick relative, or be stranded in a country they don’t want to be in.

The average victim of Romance Fraud loses more than £13,000.

Jeff Cuthbert said: “This is an appalling crime where fraudsters prey on people’s good nature and vulnerability. If you have met someone online and they ask you for money, or ask to send you money in order to send on to someone else, refuse and report it.

“If you fear you have been a victim of romance fraud, or that it is happening to you now, then help is available. Gwent Police has a dedicated officer who can help, support and advise you, and I would urge you to get in touch.”

If you think you have been a victim of romance fraud call Gwent Police on 101, or report via the Gwent Police Facebook page. You can also contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Signs you may be a victim of romance fraud (from Action Fraud):

  • You’ve developed a relationship with someone you’ve met online via emails, text messages and phone calls.
  • The new love of your life looks like a supermodel in the pictures they send you.
  • They ask you lots of questions about yourself but don’t tell you much about themselves.
  • They quickly start calling you by a pet name or use endearing terms such as ‘darling’.
  • They want to communicate with you through instant messaging and, texts, rather than through the dating website or chat room where you met.
  • They don’t answer basic questions about where they live and work.
  • They start asking you to send them money.