Warning “Catfish” issued before Valentine’s Day

Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the national consumeradvice.scot service, has launched a new campaign highlighting tactics scammers use to exploit situations of isolation or alienation from their targets.

Criminals regularly use a form of “phishing”, which is luring someone into a relationship by creating a fictional persona or fake online identity.

The charity has warned people not to reveal too many personal details early in an online conversation and stressed that their banking details should never be revealed.

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“With all of us spending more time online, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the tactics used by scammers who exploit isolation and loneliness for personal gain,” said Lindsay McPhee, project lead at consumeradvice.scot.

Criminals are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of people, using romantic feelings to abuse their trust and trick them into giving up their money or personal information.

Using “nudge” tactics can have an emotional and financial impact on people.

We also know that scammers are trying to take advantage of Scottish consumers, affected by the cost of living crisis, with cryptocurrency and fake investment offers.

“Throughout the campaign, we encourage people to avoid getting scammed by ‘catfish’ and other online scammers.

“It is important to remember that there is no shame in being scammed, and consumers who are worried or need help can contact one of our dedicated advisors for free, honest and practical advice.”

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