The Police Service of Northern Ireland is encouraging people to be on the lookout for scammers who want to take advantage of those who may be looking for love or companionship this Valentine’s Day.
As part of our ScamwiseNI initiative we have produced a short audio clip which details the experience of ‘John’ who has been a victim of scammers
Temporary Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “There are all sorts of scams and scammers around who are happy to take advantage of people’s vulnerability and good faith. Last year, almost 4,000 people in the UK became victims of romance or dating fraud. In Northern Ireland there were 58 reports relating to dating scams. However, we know that this there is a significant issue of under reporting of scams. We think many people are too embarrassed to tell us they have been scammed in a romance fraud.
“During 2016 the UK public lost at least £39m in romance or dating scams. There’s a lot of romance in the air at the moment and for many, the first stop for a date or companionship is online. One of the problems with online interaction, though, is that you have no real way of knowing the person is who they say they are – and you should ask yourself if they are out to steal more than your heart?
“There are things you can do to protect yourself. Start off with a reputable website, look out for someone asking lots of questions but not giving any detail about themselves and don’t ever hand over any money or send goods such as iphones or ipads. Also don’t let anyone you don’t know and trust transfer money into your bank account”
“If you want to buy that something special for someone on Valentine’s Day, make sure you shop from reputable websites and that you keep your details safe. There will be lots of enticing offers so think smart and stay scamwise.”