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How to make sure you swipe left on romance fraud!

In the digital age, finding love online has become pretty commonplace. With the swipe of a finger, you can connect with potential partners from all corners of the globe. 


However, along with the convenience and excitement of online dating comes a much darker side: romance fraud. If you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the online dating pool, it's essential to be aware of the risks involved in online relationships and the potential consequences of sharing too much information with strangers. 

What is romance fraud?  

Romance fraud, also known as "catfishing," involves individuals creating fake personas to manipulate and deceive others into romantic relationships for financial gain. These fraudsters prey on the emotions and vulnerabilities of their victims, often building trust over time. 


Once trust is established, they manipulate their victims into sending them money or personal information under false pretences. These scams can have devastating consequences, causing financial loss, emotional distress, and a sense of betrayal for those who fall victim to them. 

How much information should you share with potential romantic partners? 

One of the vital questions to consider in online relationships is how much information to share with someone you've just met. While it's natural to want to be open and honest, it's essential to exercise caution, especially when dealing with strangers on the internet.  


Avoid giving them sensitive personal information, such as your home address, financial details, or passwords. Even if you think you can totally trust this person, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  

What should you do if you’re a victim of romance fraud? 

Unfortunately, even with precautions in place, online relationships can still go awry. If you find yourself a victim of romance fraud, it's really important to take immediate action to protect yourself both emotionally and financially.  


Stop all communication with the perpetrator to prevent further manipulation or exploitation. Report the incident to the relevant authorities and provide as much detail as possible about the individual and the circumstances of the fraud. It’s also a good idea to contact your bank or financial institution to alert them of any unauthorised transactions or potential identity theft.  


You should also seek support from trusted friends and family members if possible, to help you navigate the emotional toll of the experience. One challenge that victims of romance fraud face is separating fact from fiction once the relationship has ended. It can be challenging to work out what information shared during the relationship was genuine and what was fabricated by the scammer. This confusion can make it difficult for victims to move on and rebuild their lives.  


With this in mind, you may also want to consider seeking counselling or therapy to process your feelings and regain a sense of security. Remember, you're not alone, and there are resources available to assist you in recovering from romance fraud. 

Protecting yourself online 

Nowadays, most of us go about our personal and professional business through mobile messaging apps and social media platforms. While these technologies offer convenience and connectivity, they also leave us more vulnerable to cyberattacks and identity theft.  


Cybersecurity policies and practices, such as regularly updating passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and avoiding sharing personal information online, are just some of the key steps you can take to protect yourself from online threats.  


You may also want to consider The Cyberpath Policy. This has been developed by cybersecurity experts and offers guidelines and best practices for safeguarding against online fraud and deception. By implementing these policies and staying informed about the latest cybersecurity trends, individuals can reduce their risk of falling victim to romance fraud and other online scams. 

Further reading: Keanu Reeves Is Not In Love With You by Becky Holmes  

If this blog has got you interested in some extra reading, the book Keanu Reeves Is Not In Love With You by Becky Holmes is an excellent read on this topic. Including firsthand testimonies from victims, excerpts of fraudulent scripts, insights into the psychology behind scams, and, of course, plenty of Becky’s amusing encounters with scammers, this book balances humour with helpful tips for avoiding romance fraud.

Need some extra help with your organisation’s cyber security? Contact us today to find out how we can help.


The contents of this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others.  Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us.


The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this document. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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