Hampshire Trading Standards Service warns residents to be aware about dating and romance scams.
This scam operates where the victim thinks they’ve met their perfect partner over the internet. However the scammer is using a fake identity. Once the scammer has bought their victims trust and convinced them they are in a relationship they will ask for money for a number of emotive reasons including;
- They are ill or have had an accident and need money for medical expenses
- They require travel costs to come and meet their victim
- They are in the military and require money for early discharge
The scammer will use a false name and photograph of themselves and will normally only want to communicate through instant messaging and email. They will not use reputable dating sites where safe chat rooms are used.
Mrs L was contacted by a romance scammer via Facebook. The scammer claimed to live in America. Over several months they developed a relationship communicating through Facebook’s direct messaging service. The scammer told Mrs L that he required money for his medical bills and she arranged for £8000 to be transferred to him. The scammer continued to ask for money and Mrs L said that she would come to America to meet him. Mrs L booked a flight to America without telling her family. However, when she arrived the scammer told her that he could not meet her because he was working. At this point Mrs L contacted her family and they arranged for her to be flown home. The situation has left Mrs L feeling very bad as she genuinely believed she was in a relationship. She is receiving support from her family.