Campaign tackling romance fraud backed by area police as new figures show Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents lost £3.1million through dating scams in one year

TODAY Hampshire Constabulary announced its support for a new campaign tackling romance fraud.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:02 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:03 pm

New figures have shown that Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents lost £3.1million through dating scams between November 2020 and October last year.

More than half of the victims were women (56 per cent), while more than a third (34 per cent) were men. One in ten did not specify their gender.

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Now, police are urging family members of online daters to help protect their relatives from becoming a victim of romance fraud.

Residents aged between 50 and 59 were the most at risk of romance fraud, with 54 people (more than a fifth of all victims) in that age bracket losing money to fraudsters.

This was followed by people aged between 60 and 69 (52 people) and those aged between 30 and 39 (46 people).

Criminals often use a range of stories to get victims to transfer them money without it raising suspicion.

Examples of stories include funding travel to visit the victim, money to pay for emergency medical expenses, lucrative investment opportunities and pretending to be military personnel or working overseas.

Detective inspector Andy Symes, of Hampshire Constabulary’s serious and organised crime unit, said: ‘Romance fraud occurs when you think you have met the perfect partner online but they are using a fake profile to form a relationship with you.

‘They gain your trust over a number of weeks or months and have you believe you are in a loving and caring relationship.

‘However, the criminal’s end goal is only ever to get your money or personal information.

‘We can see from the recent figures that sadly, people living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have fallen victim to fraudsters.

‘We would like to remind those who are online dating, and their family members, to take appropriate steps to make sure they do not become targets for online criminals.’

March was the month where most frauds took place (34), followed by 29 in July and 25 in October.

There were a total of 262 reports during the 12-month period.

For more information about the campaign, which was launched by the City of London Police visit orlo.uk/fa6qt.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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