Two men were scammed out of thousands of pounds by a woman they met through online dating sites.
One of the men lost £23,520 and the other lost £700 in what police are calling ‘romance fraud’.
In both cases the men met the woman online who claimed to be a self-employed gold and diamond dealer
After building up an online relationship with her victims, she then claimed to be travelling to Malaysia to purchase gold and asked to borrow money for documentation, taxes and other unexpected expenses that she claimed would be reimbursed on her return to the UK.
The men, who were both from Goole, lost the money before realising they had been taken in and reported it to the police
Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby, from Humberside Police, said: “The impact on those targeted by these criminals should not be underestimated.
“It can ruin lives, both financially and emotionally. Those responsible spend time getting their victims to build up a real emotional bond, so when that trust is broken it can be devastating.
“The financial impact can also be huge. When you take into account that the average amount lost by UK victims of dating fraud is now said to be £10,000, it’s no surprise that many people get into debt.”
Police say they are currently supporting the two victims.
Tips for staying safe online
Get to know the person, not the profile. Ask plenty of questions and don’t rush into an online relationship.
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 friends and family about your online dating. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
Never send money to someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you have been speaking to them.
Don’t move the conversation off the dating site messenger until you’re confident they are who they say they are.
Support is also available for those who have been targeted.
If you’re concerned you or someone you know is a victim of dating fraud, call 101, or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.