In the last year Covid19 cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, its effects have been far reaching for everyone, unfortunately as if the pandemic were not enough there has also been a rather distasteful undercurrent, an undercurrent where Cyber Criminals have used our isolation, frustration & emotions against us to steal from us. 
 
Many have been party to lockdowns or shielding and therein lies the problem, as with lions in a pride, a cackle of Hyenas or a frenzy of sharks who will always circle the lone prey, Cyber Criminals have sadly heavily capitalised on our isolation & lack of contact with our Friends, Family or Work colleagues to steal from us. 
 
An Important Note 
Cyber Criminals operate a gender-neutral policy meaning they will happily steal from anyone and steal as much as possible. 
 
 
The Unrealistic Stereotype 
As long as we can remember the ethos has been to promote “A Happy Family” it is fulfilling & will make you and everyone around you happier and healthier, whilst over the year’s families have changed in their construction the message is the same if you aren’t in a family unit/relationship you are unlikely to be as happy and fulfilled as if you are in one, this fact alone will drive many to seek that perfect relationship to fill the perceived gap in their lives. 
 
For those who have found themselves isolated during the pandemic whether currently single, divorced or unfortunately bereaved, seeking contact with others has been invaluable and in doing so may have used the virtual world and its many options to find that company to fill the void unfortunately Cyber Criminals have capitalised on this making many fake relationships & those relationships for many have ended in devastating consequences. 
 
The Problem 
Human nature determines that we tend to associate with like-minded people and sadly therein lies the problem! 
 
Why? 
Quite simply when we sign up to online dating sites etc to meet the right person we will go into great personal detail, otherwise we might not be matched with the right person. 
 
Is that a problem? 
Unfortunately, Cyber Criminals use dating sites as a hunting ground and the more honest we are the easier it is for them to find the lonely, isolated & unhappy people looking for love/friendship and miraculously be everything that they are looking for to begin their scam and sadly in many cases the wrong person pretending to be the right person. 
 
Their Process 
This is quite simple: - 
Meet 
o Miraculously they will always be your too perfect partner 
Charm 
o Flattery, flattery, and more flattery are the name of the game. 
Create a bond 
o They will latch onto a few of your likes to build your confidence. 
Isolate 
o They will convince you not to talk about them to friends or family as no one will understand how special “Our Relationship” is and they will be jealous and not want us to be happy. 
Appropriate 
o It will start small, they will ask for small amounts of money then bigger, bigger & bigger. 
Preserve 
o They will go out of their way to nurture the relationship to be able to continue to steal for from you for as long as possible to steal as much as possible. 
The Warning Signs 
With any relationship scam, speed is of the essence Cyber Criminals want to move as quickly from Meet & Greet to Fleece as humanly possible to be able to move onto their next victim. 
 
Once they really get to know you which sadly for you will be very treacherous for the Cyber Criminal, they are just telling you what you want to hear to steal from you. 
 
Many if not all the following will happen, and you need to know so alarm bells ring: - 
 
Many dating sites are monitored so Cyber Criminals will want to get you to communicate on a messaging site as soon as possible as its away from prying eyes and they have you isolated. 
They will never allow you to see them on video, why? As the pictures you have seen of them have been stolen from other people’s social media to appear more suitable and credible to you. 
They are going to ask for money, the initial amounts will start small and then grow bigger and in isolation unbelievable however their skill will convince you that they are legitimate, and their requests could include: - 
o They need money to pay a release fee for their inheritance. 
o They have been wrongfully arrested and need a lawyer or to pay bail. 
o They have valuables stuck in customs and need your help to release them. 
o They are ill in hospital and do not have the money for medical bills. 
o They are unable to pay the vet bill for their animal as they are stuck abroad. 
o Amazingly their work tools have been lost and they need to get new ones. 
o They have been scammed by Cyber Criminals and need some money to pay hotel & flight costs to come home to you to start your life together. 
They will always promise that you will meet in person however at the last minute something will come up stopping this from happening and they will normally need your help (money) to fix it so they can come and see you. 
 
In very simple terms by this stage, you are likely to be so hooked that you are going to believe pretty much everything they say as they have created such an impact on your life and you just want to be together. 
 
Break the Chain 
To stop or at the very least minimise the impact of a relationship scam on you, you need to do a very simple thing that they will not want you to do especially as they are likely to have or are in the process of isolating you. 
 
The simple thing you need to do is tell a friend, family member or even a trusted work colleague what has been going on, why? 
 
They will be able to look at your situation and give objective impartial advice which will most likely be that you are being scammed and need to cease contact immediately and report it to law enforcement. 
 
The Aftermath 
If you have been so unlucky to realise that you are being or have been scammed, please remember these very important points: 
You have done nothing wrong. 
• You do not need to be embarrassed. 
• Do not be frightened what people may think of you as your family and friends will be devasted for you and want to help. 
• You are not the only one, you have been scammed by very cleaver, dangerous & unscrupulous criminal gangs who do this for a living. 
Tell your local law enforcement so they can at the very least stop this happening to someone else. 
 
A Very Useful Tip 
The photographs that Cyber Criminals use in their profiles will most likely (always) be someone else’s that they have stolen from unsecured social media profiles, they will create multiple profiles with different names to scam many with the same pictures by checking to see where else they are used you will be able to prove easier that you are being scammed, the Reverse Lookup Instructions below will help you verify the integrity of their profile pictures using Google Images 
 
Reverse lookup - https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808  
 
 
Our Most Important Points 
 
Always remember: - 
You have done nothing wrong and should not be embarrassed. 
Speak to someone you trust and tell them what is happening their impartial advice could be invaluable. 
You are the victim of a crime from the Business that is Cyber Crime. 
Report this crime to local law enforcement or organisations like Action Fraud.  
 
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Use the form below to drop us an email. Old-Fashioned phone calls work to ~ 02890 022344 
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