Thames Valley Police launches new guidance on romance fraud
Thames Valley Police Economic Crime Unit has released a new romance fraud e-booklet to provide
guidance about this growing opportunist crime.
It has teamed up with Dr Elisabeth Carter, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Forensic Linguist at the
University of Roehampton to produce the booklet to demonstrate the clever tactics used by romance
The guidance also sets out to dispel the myths of shame and embarrassment often associated with this
crime by highlighting the link to coercive control.
Romance frauds happen when the victim thinks they’ve met the perfect partner through an online dating
website or app, but the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship with them. They’re using
the site to gain the victim’s trust and ask them for money or enough personal information to steal their
Romance fraudsters are masters of manipulation and will go to great lengths to create a false reality in
which an individual feels that they are making reasonable and rational decisions.
The challenge for many family and friends of romance fraud victims is being able to disrupt the false
reality created to enable the victim to see the situation for what it really is – a fraud.
This booklet has been designed to demonstrate the clever tactics used by romance fraudsters with a
view to empowering communities.
It also dispels the myths of shame and embarrassment often associated with this crime by highlighting the link to coercive control.
Detective Inspector Duncan Wynn of Thames Valley Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “Romance fraud can have a catastrophic impact, from the emotional devastation to the financial losses.”
“We have worked with Dr Carter, a forensic linguistics and criminology expert, to raise awareness of the manipulative tactics that romance fraudsters use.”
Dr Elisabeth Carter said: “Romance fraudsters are masters of disguise and deception, and this publication shines a light on the tactics they can use, so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
“It provides important information about the range of different ways fraudsters will attempt to groom, manipulate, and persuade individuals into a position where they feel compelled to send money.”
You can get a copy of the guidance by going to:
To view Dr Carter’s complete academic paper that inspired the booklet, please visit https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azaa072 where it will be available for free for one month from 15 November 2020.
Dr Elisabeth Carter