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Watch out for online dating scam
Those looking for love online are being urged to be vigilant of
bogus dating profiles, created with the intention making money,
rather than a relationship.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, Medway Council’s Trading Standards
team is warning singletons of a scam which sets out to extort money
from its victims.
With many online dating sites allowing free membership, the
scammers take advantage of the anonymity of the internet to create
a false profile to perfectly match those of the people they single
The love rats form a bond with victim, building a relationship
and making promises to gain their trust. Once a date is planned,
they make up a reason why they can’t come, such as:
• They don’t have enough money to travel to see you and need
help with the flight or a visa
• They have been robbed
• They need urgent surgery
• A family member is ill
They then ask their online love match to send them money via a
money transfer agent, which means the transaction will be
Medway Council’s Trading Standards Team recommends that anyone
considering online dating should follow six simple steps to protect
1. Only use well known, reputable online dating agencies and be
sure to follow their basic safety advice for online dating
2. Always be sceptical and if you are asked for any type of
financial help be extremely suspicious
3. Always try and meet someone who lives locally. Some online
matching engines on dating sites help find people who live close to
your postcode address
4. Never give out any personal details. Do not give out your
personal telephone numbers, email addresses, home address
5. Be extra careful of anyone using a PO Box address or
telephone numbers which are never answered.
6. If your date only ever talks about themselves and never
answers your questions it could be because they are only sending
standard emails to hundreds of other people.
Medway Council’s portfolio holder in charge of Trading Standards
Cllr Jane Chitty said: “While many people may enjoy online dating
sites, we must highlight that fraudsters could be behind some of
the profiles, looking for money rather than love.
"These love rats emotionally exploit people to access their
money, so we need to raise awareness so fewer people are caught out
and hurt by this awful crime. It really is terrible that people
genuinely looking for a relationship are being targeted in this
Anyone who suspects a scam of this nature should report it by
calling 03454 040506.