Hampshire Constabulary is warning people to be aware of a scam currently being used on dating websites.
Detectives in Basingstoke are investigating a case where women have been conned out of tens of thousands of pounds by a man they met on a dating website.
The women are contacted by a man claiming to be from Southsea. He then strikes up a relationship with them and tells them he has a significant amount of money due to him from inheritance in South Africa but he needs money to ‘unlock’ these funds.
The women – some of whom are from the Basingstoke area – have given this man money on several occasions, running into thousands of pounds.
Detective Constable Darrin Carey said: “I would like to appeal to any other women who believe they may have fallen victim to a similar online dating site scam to contact me.”
“I would urge anyone that is asked to part with money in this way to reconsider making bank transfers in these circumstances to anyone they have not met.”
Anyone with any information about these scams is asked to contact Det Con Carey at Basingstoke Police Station on 101. Equally, if you have any concerns or believe you may have been a victim, you can call Police on 101 or call the charity Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.
Hampshire Constabulary offers the following advice for people using online dating sites –
- Just because the dating site is considered reputable this does not mean the people using it are genuine. Friends and family may give you advice but make your own considered judgements alongside their advice.
- Use your general common sense when speaking with people on dating sites. If you wouldn’t say it to someone face-to-face then don’t say it online. If you do meet it could put you in a situation you find difficult to get out of.
- Don’t fall for internet dating scams. The fraudster won’t ask for money immediately, but it won’t be long before they request financial assistance for a number of reasons.
- Try and speak to the person on the phone before you plan to meet them.
- Ensure you have an understanding of each others’ expectations before engaging in any physical contact.
- Never agree to meet at your home address. Always meet in a public place as a precaution and let someone know where you are going and arrange to call them after your date to let them know you are safe.
- Make sure you take care when going home. Plan your journey home before you go out.
- Be cautious if something seems too good to be true.
- Make sure you keep your personal details secure by adjusting your privacy settings where necessary.
- Refrain from excessive drinking. Your judgement could become impaired leading to poor decision making.
- Trust your instincts and if things seem wrong, make an excuse to leave or ask for help.