The Northern Ireland Police Department had issued a warning ahead of St Valentine’s Day after it became known that a woman lost more than £130,00 with someone she had developed an online relationship with.
This large scam was just one of 80 such that occurred last year. According to detectives it was “a personal story of a female who has had their life ruined by someone they grew to trust”.
Although there were 80 cases reported last year, it is believed that there were many more unreported cases of these scams.
As more people will be spending time on dating sites during the lead up to Valentine’s Day, it is now that they have decided to issue their warning.
Superintendent Gerard Pollock, chair of the Scamwise NI Partnership, said these fraudsters try to build a relationship extremely quickly and will try to move the conversation off the app/website as soon as possible.
“They will appear interested in you, very quickly, but will often have lots of excuses for not being able to meet in person, a family emergency or a work problem”.
“Soon they will ask you for money to help them sort out their problems, or to help them come to meet you, such as asking you to pay for travel assuring you it will be paid back!.
Superintendent Pollock gave the advice to stay on the dating app or website and to use social media as a tool to research those that you are in contact with.
He also added that reverse image search can also be a helpful tool to use to see if a person has used another persons image while on the dating site.
He also stated “Never ever send money to someone you haven’t met in person”.