West Midlands singletons scammed out of £2.9m in a year - The Solihull Observer

West Midlands singletons scammed out of £2.9m in a year

Solihull Editorial 30th Jun, 2024   0

SINGLETONS are being warned of online fraudsters after at least £2.9million was scammed from West Midlands residents in just 12 months.

West Midlands Police has issued the warning after the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said 338 reports of Romance Fraud were made.

Romance fraud is when criminals engineer relationships using various methods to build trust and companionship before pressurising and manipulating you into sending money.

The force said criminals often approach targets on dating sites and social media or contact is initiated by cold calling tactics, for example ‘wrong number’ messages on communication platforms as this feels less expected or suspicious and spend time building a relationship before pressuring a person to send money – this could include: paying for travel, gifts, taking out loans or even making investments on their behalf.

Khatija Nichols, fraud and cyber protect coordinator for West Midlands Police, said: “Romance fraud has devastating impacts for those targeted – financially, emotionally, and psychologically.

“Victims are left feeling isolated and ashamed. If you’ve been affected by romance fraud, please know you’re not to blame, and there is help and support available.

“We urge anyone who suspects they’ve been targeted by romance fraud to come forward. Reporting not only helps us to learn about the tactics criminals use, but also provides valuable information to help us catch those responsible. By reaching out we can ensure victims receive essential safeguarding and help prevent others from becoming a victim.”

How to stay safe from romance fraudsters:

  • If you have met someone via a dating app, stay within the messaging function of the application. Don’t feel pressured to hand over your mobile number and move the conversation over to SMS or a messaging platform like Whatsapp or Telegram.
  • Be suspicious of any requests for money from someone you have never met in person.
  • Be cautious about how much personal information you are sharing online and who you are sharing information with.
  • Speak to your family or friends to get advice and perspective. Fraudsters will subtly isolate you for their own purposes.
  • Profile photos may not be genuine. Performing a reverse image search can find photos that have been taken from somewhere, or someone, else.
  • It is important that no matter how long you’ve been speaking to someone online and how much you think you trust them, if you have not met them in person, it’s important that you do not send them any money, allow them access to your bank account, transfer money on their behalf, provide copies of your personal documents or take a loan out for them.

To report fraud to Action Fraud, fill out the online fraud reporting tool or call 0300 123 2040. If you have lost any money, it is important you also immediately report it to your bank by calling the number on the back of your bank card.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Solihull Observer newspaper.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.


Weddings, Birthdays, Bereavements, Thank you notices, Marriages and more.