PEMBROKESHIRE people who have fallen for romance fraud are amongst those in the Dyfed-Powys Police area who have lost more than £1.3million this year.

The force is aiming to educate everyone about the dangers of online love fraudsters, as part of a UK-wide awareness campaign.

Some individuals have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds before realising they have been a victim of crime.

“Romance fraud is a particularly cruel crime as it takes advantage of people’s need for affection,” said Rebecca Jones, fraud safeguarding officer.

"2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, in particular those who have spent many weeks or months in isolation or separated from loved ones.

“Normal dating activities have also been forced online as individuals look to connect.

“Fraudsters know only too well the lengths people will go to in the search for love or friendship, which is why this huge problem continues to grow.”

While the majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, some will be fraudsters hoping to lure victims in with fake profiles.

After establishing contact, these criminals will often try to encourage users away from a trusted website onto social media or other messaging platforms, where they can gain further personal information which can be used to steal someone’s identity.

They may prey on people’s generosity or sympathy, saying they have had money stolen, need help paying for transport or a relative’s medical bills, or need a ‘loan’ to cover them until payday.

Some victims may even end up committing crimes without realising it, as so-called ‘money mules’.

Added Rebecca:

If someone asks you to receive money into your bank account and transfer it into another account or send it on using cryptocurrency or money service bureaus, you are now involved in money laundering - which is a crime." 

Since January, Dyfed-Powys Police’s fraud team have helped prevent more than £92,000 being lost to criminals.

But, added Rebecca, the sensitive nature of romance fraud means it continues to be severely under-reported.

“People feel ashamed about being tricked, often after having opened up about their desires or private feelings,” she said.

“This is not just about losing money: romance fraud can have a lasting impact on victims’ physical and mental wellbeing, their existing relationships with friends and family, and their ability to trust future potential partners.

“But there is no need to feel embarrassed - these people are professional criminals who deliberately target those seeking a genuine loving relationship.

We would urge anyone who has concerns about an online relationship, no matter how established, to get in touch.

“This includes family or friends who are concerned about the actions of a loved one.

“It is vital everyone knows the warning signs so they can protect their personal data, their money and their hearts.

“By reporting your suspicions you could help protect yourself or someone else from becoming a victim.”

If you have concerns about a relationship, or fear you or someone you know has been a victim of crime, you can email or call 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

As with all crimes, reports are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information and advice visit

Other tips to help you stay safe online, including when using non-dating sites, can be found here: