In response to Netflix hit documentary ‘The Tinder Swindler’ South Yorkshire police have issued a warning on online romance fraud.
The Netflix documentary depicts the conman Simon Leviev, conning numerous women across Europe to fund his lavish lifestyle, specifically through the use of popular dating app ‘Tinder’.
Data from Action Fraud shows a total of 147 reports of romance fraud were received in South Yorkshire between November 2020 and October 2021. With victims losing more than £1.6 million through these scams.
Andy Foster, South Yorkshire Police’s Fraud Protect Officer, said: “These fraudsters are the lowest of the low. They will prey on people’s loneliness and vulnerabilities, and take advantage of their kindness and generosity.”
The data has shown that those who spark online relationships between Christmas and Valentine’s Day tend to be most susceptible.
According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau fraud during this timeframe saw a spike of 901 reports.
Emily Smaling, 19, student and user of Tinder, said: “I find it hard to believe people can easily be misled into giving someone thousands.
“But I’m aware of the problem and not enough is being done to warn vulnerable people.”
People are often left lost after being subject to these acts of fraud as many feel too embarrassed to ask for help from those around them or seek justice against the fraudsters.
Mr Foster, said: “You can protect yourself by avoiding giving away too many personal details to a stranger online, never sending money to someone you’ve only met online, and messaging potential love interests through reputable sites’ messaging services.
“And if you do sadly fall victim, please don’t be embarrassed. Make sure you speak to us and report it to Action Fraud – we’re here to help.”
You can reach out to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 and online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.