MORE than £100,000 has been conned out of those looking for love in the county.
Data released by Action Fraud revealed 33 people in Worcestershire were scammed out of £103,000 by mainly using dating chat rooms and websites to find a partner last year.
The online fraudsters take advantage of their anonymity to create the perfect profile and then build a rapport with the victims.
They then make promises to encourage their victim to let down their guard before asking for money because of a ‘hard luck’ story.
With Valentine’s Day approaching West Mercia are urging people to be on their guard when searching for romance online with the launch of their #Be Cyber Smart
campaign on Monday (February 2).
DCI Sean Paley, from the force’s specialist operations unit, said police investigate cases every year where unsuspecting people have been tricked out of money after meeting someone online.
“This can be a hugely damaging experience for people, both financially and emotionally, as it often involves a huge abuse of their trust.
“Online dating can, of course, be successful for many but we want people doing it to be aware that there are some individuals out there who are not as genuine as they first seem.”
He added top tips to keep safe included stopping to think before falling for someone, making sure not to reveal too much and do not fall for sad stories.