Nottinghamshire woman conned out of £5,000 after fake celebrity romance scam targets vulnerable | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Nottinghamshire Police said the scam targeted vulnerable people by posing as celebrities.

Romance fraudsters using fake celebrity dating profiles have scammed vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds, police have warned.

A Nottinghamshire woman was duped out of £5,000 after criminals posed as TV chef James Martin on Facebook.

As part of the scam, known as ‘catfishing’, she handed the money over as a “loan” which was not repaid.

Nottinghamshire Police said they have received 23 reports of romance fraud in the last two months, with the true figure likely higher as victims are embarrassed to come forward.

Another case involved a vulnerable woman who was conned into buying Steam gift cards, for a digital computer game marketplace, after believing she had been talking to Il Divo singer Urs Bühler for two months.

A third woman was tricked into believing she was talking with Take That star Gary Barlow on TikTok.

She was coerced into sending explicit pictures which then led to blackmail, which the woman refused. Although nothing further happened, the incident left the woman upset and anxious, officers said.

In total, Nottinghamshire Police received 11 reports in August and 12 in September, with three fraudsters posing as celebrities.

‘Scams are clever’

Det Serg Tara Clapperton, of the fraud prevention team, said the number of victims emphasised how sophisticated romance scams had become.

She said: “A lot of people hear about these scams and think ‘I wouldn’t be taken in by that’.

“But these scams are clever and that’s why it’s really important people exercise vigilance communicating with others online.

“It’s not dissimilar to grooming. Offenders will groom victims and it can happen over quite a long period of time.

“They tell convincing lies and it means that while victims think they are falling in love, they’re actually falling for a scam.

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