Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whether you have found that special someone already, or are still looking for ... the right one, it is recognised that technology is increasingly playing a bigger role in meeting your match.

The ability to start connecting with people instantly from across the world also means that criminals are finding new ways of exploiting others online. In 2016 the number of people defrauded by online dating scams in the UK reached a record high. According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau approximately £39 million was lost to online dating scams alone. One way this is happening is through a growing trend called Romance Fraud.

Romance Fraud is where a criminal works to build a relationship with someone to gain that persons trust, but will ultimately have an alternative motive to ask for money or, to find out as much information that they can about the other person to commit Identity theft.

Identity theft is where a criminal has gained access to enough information to usually go on to obtain loans, credit cards, order goods, or other documents in your name.

When meeting someone online, giving out your full name, where you live and your date of birth could seem innocent when trying to make a connection with someone to see if you have similar things in common, but this information could also be used to commit fraud. Criminals actively look through open social media accounts to collect this valuable information and choose a target.

Be aware of someone new asking too many personal questions online and take care to not click on any web links or open attachments that you are unsure of. Opening attachments, pictures, videos, downloading files or clicking web links can lead to Malicious Software also known as Malware being downloaded onto your device, which may have been created to record your usernames and passwords or obtain other data.

For further information on how to stay safe online please see the

Get Safe Online website which has a lot of articles covering online dating, romance fraud, identity theft, sextortion, cyberstalking and many more online safety tips.