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New Forest victims of romance scammers refuse to stop contact because they’re lonely, reveals New Milton beat police officer Sgt Arron Wood





LONELY victims of romance scammers are refusing to end contact despite police warnings because they have no one else to talk to, a police officer has revealed.

New Milton beat officer Sgt Arron Wood says around “one to two” reports of tricksters luring people into giving them money are received by police a month locally but he believes “there are very many more victims” adding: “A lot of people are just too embarrassed to report a scam, I believe there are many more cases than what we hear of.”

Speaking at a residents’ meeting in Lymington, Sgt Wood said that even when warned by police that they are being conned, some victims refuse to break off contact: “They are so lonely it is the only contact they have with someone. They are pleased they are getting attention and happy to pay the money to maintain that. It is very sad.”

Sgt Arron Wood says 'If you think it is a scam report it'
Sgt Arron Wood says 'If you think it is a scam report it'

He said there have been reports of people “losing thousands” to scams, and said one of his own friends had even fallen victim to one. He said: “He is highly intellectual, but he was targeted by scammers. He was beside himself that he had been conned.

“But these people are very skilled and very good at what they do. They pick on the vulnerable. It is happening all the way up from teenagers to the elderly.

Sgt Wood urged anyone who believed they, or someone they knew, was being targeted by scammers to report it to police “immediately” or Action Fraud.

Many romance scam victims are staying in contact with fraudsters because they're lonely (Stock picture)
Many romance scam victims are staying in contact with fraudsters because they're lonely (Stock picture)

He said: “Don’t play into it. If someone rings saying they are from your bank, put the phone down. If you think it is a scam, report it. If in doubt, say something.”

Sgt Wood also urged youngsters to find the courage to speak out if they were being blackmailed over ‘sex-text’ photos: “What you have to remember about any photo is, as soon as you send it, you have lost control over it.

Beware scam callers.
Beware scam callers.

“It could end up anywhere. It is out there forever. Don’t play up to it. Teenagers worry about reporting such behaviour because they think they will lose their phone, but it needs reporting.

“They are also scared of what their parents are going to say. But if someone asks you for photos of a sexual nature, or you send one and they try to blackmail you with it, tell your parents, a teacher or someone you trust, and report it to police.”

For further advice visit: www.actionfraud.police.uk



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