Looking For Love May Have Unexpected Consequences

Action Fraud is warning romance seekers to be cautious when using dating platforms, as new data reveals criminals have already conned over £15 million out of unsuspecting lovers with bogus investment opportunities. 
 
Data reveals that £15,665,332 has been lost this year to criminals offering bogus investment opportunities on dating platforms, with an average loss of £15,936 per victim.
 
Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of victims were aged 30 to 39 years old, and around two thirds of victims (60 per cent) were aged 30 to 59 years old.
 
While the vast majority of investments offered are in crypto currency, victims have also handed over money believing they’re investing in other commodities, including shares and stocks, gold and raw materials. Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “We’ve all spent more time than ever before online over the past year and criminals have seen this as an opportunity to target unsuspecting victims - particularly those using dating platforms... It’s important that if you’re contacted by someone on a dating platform about an investment opportunity, that you follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign by taking a moment to stop and think – it could protect you and your money".
 
“If you are suspicious of someone’s behaviour on a dating platform, most platforms have a reporting tool which you can use to report their profile – which helps protect others.”
 
Victims have reported being approached on dating platforms by criminals, who at first will engage in typical conversation in order to build a trusting relationship. Once this relationship has been formed, the fraudster will change the topic of conversation to an investment opportunity that they claim can help make the victim money. The victim is then persuaded to continue the conversation on a secondary messaging platform, which often cannot provide the same level of safety as dating platforms, as the end-end encryption they use prevents the secondary platform from having any visibility into the content of these messages.
 
Eventually, the victim is persuaded to transfer funds to the fraudster for what they believe to be a legitimate investment opportunity. In reality, the money is pocketed by the criminal as the investment opportunity isn’t legitimate.
 
In some cases, victims have been deceived into transferring funds on multiple occasions, having been told their initial investment was successful. In other cases, victims have been told they cannot access their investment without paying numerous charges such as transaction fees, security deposits and currency conversion costs. The fraudster will typically cut all contact when the victim refuses to transfer more funds, or says that they’ve run out of money.  

How To Protect Yourself   

No matter how long you’ve been speaking to someone online, if you haven’t met them in person, do not send them any money.
 
Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Be wary if you’re being pressured to invest quickly, or promised returns that sound too good to be true. Take time to do your research.
 
Research the person you’re talking to, as their photos may not be genuine. Find photos that have been taken from somewhere, or someone, else.
 
Be suspicious if you are contacted out the blue about an investment opportunity. Always seek advice from friends or family and consider getting independent professional advice before making a significant financial decision.
 
Stay on the site’s messaging service until you meet in person. Criminals want to quickly switch to other platforms that are less well regulated and have stronger encryption, so there’s no evidence of your conversation.
 
You can check if an investment opportunity you’ve been offered could potentially be a scam by visiting the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) ScamSmart website.
 
Most online platforms have a reporting tool which you can use if you suspect someone online is using pictures that don’t belong to them, you are suspicious of their behaviour, or they have asked you for money. Reporting their user profile means it can be blocked, which helps protect others.   

Action Fraud also advises that the public follow the advice to keep themselves safe from fraud.     

Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
 
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
 
Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
 
Action Fraud
 
You Might Also Read: 
 
Dating Sites Fraudster Alert:
 
« Hackers Steal UK Firearms Data
EU & NATO Agree To Confront The Chinese Cyber Threat »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

NordLayer

NordLayer

NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses — from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security. 

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO is the market leader in HPE Non-Stop Security, Risk Management and Compliance.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

RIVA Solutions

RIVA Solutions

RIVA provides innovative best practices in IT and management consulting, program support services and emerging technologies.

Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)

Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) brings cyber security capabilities from across the Australian Government together into a single location.

Mitchell Sandham

Mitchell Sandham

Mitchell Sandham is an, independent insurance and financial services brokerage. Business products include Cyber/Privacy Liability insurance.

Avatier

Avatier

Avatier identity management software products automate identity access management, user provisioning and IT governance to ensure information security and compliance.

Evolve Secure Solutions

Evolve Secure Solutions

Evolve Secure Solutions is a security focused managed services provider serving private and public customers across the UK.

Clearswift

Clearswift

Clearswift is trusted by businesses, governments and defense organizations globally for its Adaptive Cyber Security and Data Loss Prevention solutions.

sayTEC

sayTEC

sayTEC's mission is to develop and deliver next-generation products and services in encrypted data and voice transmission.

InFyra

InFyra

InFyra is an IoT & Telecoms specialist consultancy, with extensive global and local experience in business and technology strategy, networks and solutions development.

Celerium

Celerium

Celerium transforms cyber defense for both companies and industry sectors by leveraging cyber threat intelligence to defend against cyber threats and attacks.

DarkLight

DarkLight

DarkLight is a cybersecurity platform that mimics human thinking at scale to build resiliency to Advanced Persistent Threats.

Paladin Capital Group

Paladin Capital Group

Paladin is a leading global investor that supports and grows the world’s most innovative cyber companies.

Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA)

Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA)

Trusted Connectivity Alliance is a global, non-profit industry association which is working to enable a secure connected future.

Servian

Servian

Servian is one of Australia's leading IT consultancies, with expertise in cloud, data, machine learning, DevOps and cybersecurity.

UST

UST

UST is a global provider of digital technology and transformation, IT services and solutions including managed security services.

Perygee

Perygee

Perygee is a fully integrated platform for operational security. Companies depend on Perygee to identify and streamline the most important security practices for their operations.

Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA)

Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA)

Abu Dhabi Digital Authority enable, support and deliver a digital government that is proactive, personalised, collaborative and secure.