Romance Fraud

Romance fraud happens when the victim thinks they’ve met the perfect partner through an online dating website or app, but the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship with them. They’re using the site to gain the victim’s trust and ask them for money or enough personal information to steal their identity.

Romance fraudsters are masters of manipulation and will go to great lengths to create a false reality in which an individual feels that they are making reasonable and rational decisions. The challenge for family and friends of those affected by romance fraud is being able to disrupt the false reality created to enable them to see the situation for what it really is – a fraud.

A new booklet, developed by Thames Valley Police’s Economic Crime Unit alongside Dr Elisabeth Carter, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Forensic Linguist at the University of Roehampton, has been designed to demonstrate the clever tactics used by romance fraudsters with a view to improving the knowledge of our
communities. It dispels the myths of shame and embarrassment often associated with this crime by highlighting the link to coercive control. Detective Inspector Duncan Wynn of Thames Valley Police’s Economic Crime Unit said:
“Romance fraud can have a catastrophic impact, from the emotional devastation to the financial
losses. It’s so important that if you feel you have fallen victim to a romance fraudster that you seek
help by reaching out to Action Fraud or Victim Support.”

Dr Elisabeth Carter, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Forensic Linguist at the University of Roehampton said: “Romance fraudsters are masters of disguise and deception, and this publication shines a light on the tactics they can use, so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”