People searching for love online in 2019 are being warned to keep a sharp eye out for scamsters who promise a happy ever after.
The warning, from North Yorkshire Police’s community messaging service, said: “It is a sad fact that I am visiting an increasing number of people who have fallen for a ‘Romance Scam’.
“This is where they have met someone online and the scam always follows a familiar pattern. They will communicate via social media without ever seeing the person they are communicating with.
“After a short while there will be a request for money, usually a relatively small amount claiming there is an unexpected bill they need to pay.
“This will be followed by promises to come to England to live ‘happily ever after’.
“There will be further complications with further requests for money (air fares, medical bills, customs duties), usually increasing in amount.
“I have met victims who refuse to believe they are a victim of a scam and have lost tens of thousands of pounds to this despicable crime.”
The rising popularity of dating sites has led to an increase in the problem.
If you are tempted to try to find love online, the police suggest following these simple rules:
• Online dating? Get to know the person, not the profile
• Analyse dating profiles and do all you can to check they’re genuine
• Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them
• Don’t send money or your bank details to someone you’ve met online
• Stay on the dating site’s messenger service
• Report fraud at actionfraud.police.uk