POLICE in the Scottish Borders are warning the public of the dangers of romance fraud which occurs when you think you’ve 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.
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However, the criminal’s end goal is only ever to get your money or personal information.
Criminals are experts at impersonating people.
They spend hours researching you for their scams, especially when committing romance fraud.
And officers urge people to ”Stop and think: it could protect you and your money.”
How to spot the signs
You’ve struck up a relationship with someone online and they declare their love for you quickly. Many fraudsters claim to be overseas because they work in the military or medical profession.
They make up excuses as to why they can’t video chat or meet in person and will try to move your conversations off the platform you met on.
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When they ask for financial help, it’ll be for a time-critical emergency, and the reason will be something that pulls at the heartstrings. They may get defensive if you decline to help.
Their pictures are too perfect – they may have been stolen from an actor or model.
Reverse image search can find photos that have been taken from somewhere else.
They tell you to keep your relationship private and not to discuss anything with your friends and family.
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How to protect yourself
STOP: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.
CHALLENGE: Is this person really who they say they are? Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests for your financial or personal details. Criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Police Scotland by calling 101.
If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed – you are not alone.