West Mercia police launched an intensified their efforts to investigate reports and develop intelligence leads to disrupt romance fraudsters, whilst also safeguarding, supporting and offering protection advice to victims and potential victims.
Romance Fraud is on the rise and involves victims being convinced they are in a relationship with the fraudster, who then convinces them to give them money, often assuring them it will be repaid when they eventually meet and can be together.
On average victims lose over £10K each, with some losing much more. The numbers have increased since lockdown as people become more socially isolated.
Nationally Action Fraud received 5,820 reports of Romance Fraud from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 with a total reported loss of over £68 million. The average loss to victims is nearly £18,000, which is higher than previous years’ reporting. Victims of Romance Fraud are predominantly female and aged 50 – 59 years old. Male victims are generally younger with the highest proportion of victims being aged 20-29.