A warning has been issued by police after reports of a new dating fraud doing the rounds in Worcestershire.

The trend that the police have warned about is appearing at the present time and is linked to current global situations in warzones.

A victim meets up with a person on a Dating Website, who claims to be working as a surgeon or a doctor for the United Nations in a war zone such as Syria or Ukraine.

The fraudster then asks for money to help them exit that country. This can often be coupled with a further request for money because they have passport problems or are trying to bring certain goods with them out of that country.

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Very often the money requested goes to an overseas bank account so check the sort code, and frequently the name on the bank account differs from the contact.

According to the police, romance fraudsters use different tactics to win the victim's confidence but often the underlying patterns are similar.

As part of a national crackdown on fraud, police advise the public to:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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A new emergency hotline has been launched for people to report and check financial scams as they happen.

159 has been set up by banks and telephone companies to fight fraud, and whilst it is still a pilot scheme, the majority of banks are now signed up for it.

A potential victim who dials 159 will be automatically connected to their bank's fraud prevention service, which can often save a long wait on hold.

Anyone who receives a call or message from somebody claiming to be from a trusted organisation and who suggests money should be transferred is being urged to hang up and call 159.