This week I would like to introduce you all to a campaign being run through October in conjunction with Action Fraud. Its called #LoveNotLies, and because between August 2019 and August 2020 there was a 26% rise in romance scam, we feel that this campaign is very important.
So how do you avoid being scammed whilst looking for love online?
1. Stay on the platform
When chatting to someone new, make sure you message on the platform you met them on, and don’t feel pressured into giving out your phone number. Staying on the platform makes it easier to report to the online dating website if something goes wrong, meaning you’re more protected.
2. Play detective
Do your research into the person you’re talking to and search for their name, pictures and things they say using a search engine. Some dating apps have the option to verify profiles so you know the person you’re talking to is legitimate. Make sure you ask lots of questions and get to know the person you’re talking to.
3. Don’t spill all your secrets
Never share logins, passwords or bank details with anyone you’ve met online and never send money to people you don’t know. Use caution if someone asks you an unusual question such as ‘what was your childhood pet?’ as these are often used as security questions for forgotten login details.
4. Be suspicious
Be suspicious when online dating, especially when someone you’re talking to asks you for money. Online dating scams exist to make money from victims so be very cautious if someone requests money from you. Be wary of ‘sob stories’ as this is another way scammers try and get money out of their victims.
5. Tell other people
Scammers might try to alienate a victim from people they know, so make sure people you trust know about who you’re talking to. Letting someone know can also help you if you’re suspicious about someone, as chatting things through can help.
Throughout October, Citizens Advice is supporting Action Fraud’s #LoveNotLies campaign highlighting romance fraud and sharing tips on how to avoid it. You will find more information at the Action Fraud link: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/romancefraud
Next time, I plan to tell you about online scams, in which firms masquerading as well-known brands offer cover for washing machines and other appliances via continuous Direct debits.
You can find out more about Citizens Advice online scam service online at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/get-help-with-online-scams/
Meanwhile, if you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice 0344 493 0012. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line
0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk