Romance Fraud: What Is It and How Can You Avoid It | Safer Date

What is Romance Fraud?

Romance fraud is happening every day all over the world to both men and women. It happens when a criminal creates a fake profile on an online dating site or app, pretends to be someone they’re not, and they spend time gaining a victim’s trust.

Victims are tricked into giving them money for a whole variety of reasons and they are ruthless, heartless individuals (and sometimes even companies) who prey on the loneliness and kindness of decent people.

How Big is the Problem?

Romance Fraud is a huge and growing problem. Between November 2020 and October 2021, £92m was lost to romance fraud in the UK alone, which is a 40% increase on the previous year.

The BBC have even started running a program on this called For Love or Money which shows just how easy it is for people to become victims of these scams.

Why is Romance Fraud Such a Huge Problem?

Quite frankly, Romance Fraud is such a huge problem because dating sites provide the perfect place for criminals to find their victims. They don’t identify people and they allow fake profiles – so criminals can reinvent themselves time and time again and be whoever they want to be online. They can then simply disappear once they have what they want. Because of the anonymity on these sites, they are often completely untraceable, so it is difficult to bring them to justice and recover any money.

There is No Legal Standard for Dating Apps

Our latest research has shown that 47% of dating app users had no idea that these dating sites and apps allow people convicted of sex offences or fraud to use them, so you may be surprised to know that there is actually no legal standard for dating apps right now.

Anyone can start a dating app, and anyone can join up freely, no matter how bad their criminal past is!

Online Predators on Free Dating Apps

How Can You Avoid Being a Victim of Romance Fraud

  • Firstly, be very careful which dating sites you join! Do your research and find out what safety and security measures they have in place. Most don’t have any at all and leave you wide open to being a victim of romance fraud (and often much worse). There are many news articles with horror stories about the popular dating sites and online dating related crimes, with Match, Tinder and Plenty of Fish being reported as the worst.
  • Be very careful what you post online. Don’t post personal information, and don’t overshare with strangers online. Scammers use details shared on social media and dating sites to target you so that they appear to ‘understand’ you or have lots of shared interests.
  • If you meet someone online and they seem too perfect – proceed with caution! Scammers will often try to get you to leave dating sites quickly to communicate directly, and they often try to isolate you from family and friends.
  • If someone requests inappropriate photos or financial information, do not send them! They could be used to extort you later.
  • If you’ve been chatting to someone online for a while but they always seem to have an excuse why they can’t meet in person, this is a huge red flag. If you haven’t met after a few months, you are right to be suspicious.
  • NEVER send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
The North East RECCC have collaborated to produce a guide about staying safe from romance fraud, which contains a lot of very useful information to help you spot romance fraud before it’s too late.

How Can You Date Safely Online?

If you want to date online, but you care about your safety and security and you want to be sure that you are talking to real people, try Safer Date.

Safer Date is the ONLY dating app with zero anonymity which not only identifies everyone, but which also offers thorough global criminal background checks and insolvency checks too. Download the app now and start chatting for free.

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