There may be trouble ahead says the song, telling us of moonlight and romance. Sadly there are many times now when there is trouble ahead when the romance has started with online dating. As can be seen below from the Police Scotland website the fraudsters are not only foreign based crime syndicates.
Police Scotland can confirm that a 45 year old man has been charged in connection with £120,000 Romance Fraud, Money Laundering and offences under the Immigration Act. A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal and he is expected to appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court on Monday 27 February.
Detective Inspector Iain McPhail of the Economic Crime and Financial Investigation Unit said :
“I would give the following advice to anyone who is considering looking for potential partners online or referred to them through a third party.
“If you are being referred to a potential partner by a third party, please ensure that they actually know that individual. Take steps to verify that images you see of that person are actually real images of them and not taken from the internet to give you a positive impression of them.
“Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
“Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
“Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of them asking you for money.
“Unfortunately there are some callous individuals who will prey on the trust of unsuspecting victims and take advantage of their compassion.”
It can be so gratifying to find someone online who seems to “get” you, who offers just what you need and makes you feel wanted and appreciated. Unfortunately, many times there are hidden agendas especially for people who are not able to be forthcoming about their real lives.
If you meet someone special through online dating, I wish you well, that is where I met my partner. However, before going any further than chatting, you need to verify who they are. If they cannot give you an insight into a real life then alarm bells should start ringing.
As a basic rule, if they haven’t even taken you out for dinner, do not be giving them your money, no matter what story they give you. If they are not in the same country as you so you can’t meet, don’t kid yourself and if they ask for money, admit your mistake and walk away.