Police provide tips to avoid romance fraud after victims lost £50m last year

Norfolk Police have warned against romance fraud this Valentine's Day. Photo: Getty Images

Norfolk Police have warned against romance fraud this Valentine's Day. Photo: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/Vetta

With Valentine's Day just around the corner Norfolk Police have urged the public to be aware of fraudsters who prey on lonely hearts.

Norfolk Police today tweeted: 'Turn the tables on fraudsters this Valentine's Day and avoid falling victim to a #fauxmance. Check out Action Fraud for some top tips.'

The warning comes after reports to Action Fraud revealed that over £50 million was lost by victims of romance fraud in 2018 - with an average of £11,145 per victim.

As the police website explains, romance fraud is when a person tricks someone into believing that they are the perfect partner for them and lies about having genuine feelings for them in order to gain their trust and extort large sums of money.

Not only are thousands of pounds lost, but there is often also a profound psychological effect on the victim.

READ MORE: 'It took my life away': Norfolk man lost £15,000 life savings to scammer in fake online romance

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Action Fraud provides the following advice on how to avoid falling prey of scam artists - it falls under the easy to remember acronym DATES.

Don't rush into an online relationship – get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions.

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Analyse their profile and check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term 'dating scam' into your search engine.

Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.

Evade scammers by never sending money to, or sharing your bank details with, someone you've met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.

Stay on the dating site messenger service until you're confident the person is who they say they are. If you do decide to meet in person, make sure the first meeting is in a public place and let someone else know where you're going to be.

If you suspect someone of romance fraud you can get in touch with Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

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