Local police in Surrey, England have condemned “cunning” and “cruel” dating scammers after making a spate of arrests.
A group of criminals using fake personas targeted vulnerable women around the country, building deep relationships with them online before asking for money.
The offenders would often say funds were needed for travel so that the couple could be together. In other cases, they would invent legal fees and veterinary bills that urgently needed paying.
Surrey Police Detective Constable Rebecca Mason said: “This type of crime plays mercilessly on personal emotions.
“These women have gone from the high excitement of being in love to the extreme low of realising they have been victims of crime and their trust and generosity has been completely abused.
“I can’t emphasise enough, having got to know them throughout this case, that these are both intelligent, sensible women who were taken advantage of by a cunning, cruel and highly manipulative gang of fraudsters.”
The local force was one of two to pilot data sharing with the online dating industry earlier this year.
The collaborative effort came as more UK organisations look to link up against romance fraud. The Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, Action Fraud, Scamalytics and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau are currently all working in tandem to keep singles safe.
Nick Tsinonis, Co-Founder of Scamalytics, said to GDI: “The UK police are tightening the screw on romance fraud and are dedicating resources to help prevent scams, partnering with Scamalytics and prosecuting scammers by collaborating with police forces around the world.”
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