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Romance fraud happens when someone believes they have met their perfect match through an online dating site or app, but the other person is in fact a scammer using a fake profile to build the relationship. They slowly gain your trust with a view to eventually asking you for money or obtaining enough personal details to steal your identity. It plays on the need we all have for love and companionship and many people fall victim every year.

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Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning s Protect yourself Have you been scammed?

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Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake online profile to trick people who are looking for love, usually to get money out of them. If you're online dating, read these tips so you know how to spot a catfish.

Romance fraud

If you've been scammed out of your money by someone who wasn't who they said they were, there is help and support available. Get support. One way to do this is to look them up on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or to search their name in a search engine. Of course not everyone has social media, but if someone's on a dating app or website, they're more likely to have some other form of social media.

Be wary of people you don't know sending you messages through your social media s.

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They might be flirty to try and scam you, so it's best to stick to meeting people online through dating websites. If you've been chatting away to someone for a while and everything seems great, but then they ask you for dating, think about it for a while before you send them any. Is it very early in your relationship? Is it appropriate for them to be asking someone they've only known for a short time and may never have met in real life for site It's common for catfish to ask you for money that appears to be for your benefit.

For example, they want to come and visit you but they can't afford the plane ticket, so they ask you for the plane fare. Another technique is to start by asking for a small amount of money, then gradually asking for more and more each time. You may want to be generous, especially if you're in a new romantic relationship, but think about your best interests first.

Relationships normally develop over weeks and months. If someone is telling you things like 'I love you' and 'you're the one' and 'I can't live without you' within a few days, this should set off alarm bells. Have you spoken to the person face to face?

5 ways to spot an online-dating scammer

Even if they live in another country, there are lots of ways to meet them online now, like Skype and Facetime. If they're avoiding showing you their face, this could be a that they're not who they say they are. Try to arrange a face-to-face chat early in the relationship.

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Be honest with yourself. If the person you're chatting to tells you they love you in the first couple of days, and seems to have a really wild and interesting life with lo of stories to tell, could it be too good to be true? But watch out for inconsistencies in people's stories, and if something doesn't make sense, ask about it.

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Online dating scammers tricked innocent victims into transferring £8, each last year

How to spot a catfish. Or they do, but the photos don't match the photos on their dating profile. They're asking for money early into your relationship.

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They might be saying it's to come and visit you. They're telling you they love you, but you've only been talking for a couple of days or weeks. They're avoiding face-to-face contact, either meeting up or video chats.

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They're just a little bit too perfect. Their stories sometimes conflict with each other, or don't quite add up.

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Do you think you've been catfished? Are they on social media?

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If you've met someone online, it's a good idea to make sure they are who they say they are. If you find them online, look out for: of photos — It's normal for people to have more than just one photo of themselves.

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Quality of photos — Do they have a few photos, but they all look like they've been taken by a professional photographer? Catfish often steal photos from the internet, and they often choose professional-looking shots. Are they asking you for money? Is the relationship moving quickly?

What is catfishing on the internet?

Have you spoken face to face? Is it too good to be true?

People aren't perfect, so the person you just met online probably isn't either. Do their stories add up? Human nature is to believe other people, even when the facts are stacked against them.

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Learn more staying safe on social media Tips on using social media safely Information about online dating. You might also be interested in.

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Looking for love? how to spot the s of romance scams when dating

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