ROMANTICS in Warwickshire looking for love online are being urged not to get stung in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

Family members are being urged to help protect internet dating relatives from becoming a victim of romance fraud, as new figures show 84 people in the county reported falling victim to a romance scam last year – with losses totalling almost £500,000 reported

Daters who strike up online relationships between Christmas and Valentine’s Day tend to be the most susceptible to romance fraud, with a spike of 901 reports recorded by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau last March.

Det Ch Supt Matt Bradford said: “Typically, romance fraudsters will spend weeks gaining their victims’ trust, feeding them fabricated stories about who they are and their lives – and initially make no suggestion of any desire to ask for any money, so the victim may believe their new love interest is genuine.

“But weeks, or sometimes months later, these criminals will ask for money for a variety of emotive reasons and as the emotional relationship has already been formed, victims often transfer money without a second thought.

“We’re calling on family members who think their relatives may be dating online to help make them aware of the warning signs that they could be falling victim to fraud, particularly if the person dating online is not particularly tech savvy.”

Criminals often use a range of stories to get victims to transfer them money without it raising…

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