The Metropolitan Police has renewed it’s Fraud and Cyber Crime series which teaches people how to stay safe online. One of the videos details how singles can protect themselves from online dating scammers.
The cartoon is titled The Little Guide to Avoiding Romance Fraud and was produced by Metropolitan Police Service Fraud And Linked Crime Online (FALCON).
It is aiming to discourage viewers from sending money to people they have never met before.
Scammers have been taking advantage of the increased popularity of online dating and have multiple techniques to get money out of hopeful singles.
Some of the methods that are mentioned include needing money to travel for a first date, pay off a small debt, or for a family member’s medical bills.
The video explains that the fraudsters will typically try to move to alternative contact methods – such as text messages or WhatsApp.
“What they’re doing is evading scrutiny. They want you to go off-site, because if someone else reports them and their profile gets taken down, they can still make contact with you.”
— Ross Williams (@rosswilliams) October 5, 2018
Users of online dating platforms are encouraged to “Stay in contact on the dating website for a while. Check the stories people tell you, by doing a few simple internet searches – and talk to your family and friends about it.”
A spokesperson from the Online Dating Association told GDI: “This animated piece delivers important safety messages to users of dating services and puts the risks in context.
“The messages here are consistent with our own DateSafe messages and we encourage dating services to use this video creatively to raise awareness.”
Scamalytics recently partnered with Action Fraud UK to provide extra data to the online dating industry. Internet dating companies can check users’ profiles against the Scamalytics database to see if there are any scammers on the platform.
More information can be found at met.police.uk/fraud.