People are being warned not to fall victim to romance scams.

The warning comes from Staffordshire Police ahead of Valentine’s Day.

The scams see criminals look for vulnerable people on social media and dating apps with the aim of gaining their trust and persuading them to send them money.

Police say a Staffordshire woman in her 70s has recently lost £1,500 over six months.

A spokesperson for the force said:

“We soon discovered that she had several direct debits, of which she had no knowledge, coming out of her account and going to the scammer.

“She was also sending money to the fraudster directly, which was being used to fund flights and cover other expenses.”

Staffordshire Police spokesperson

Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau shows that almost £92million was lost nationwide to romance fraud in the last financial year.

Police say signs of a scammer are often that they often want to find out everything about the victim but reveal very little about themselves.

“You might think that you trust someone that you’ve met online, especially if you’ve been speaking for a long time, but if you have never met them in person, you must never do any of the following, no matter how many times they ask.

Staffordshire Police spokesperson

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of a romance scam can report it to police on 101.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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