Humberside Police have issued a Valentine's Day warning after three men were conned out of thousands of pounds in an online dating scam.
The trio – two from Goole and one from Scunthorpe – were all befriended by a woman who claimed to be a self-employed gold and diamond dealer.
The woman told each of the men she was travelling to Malaysia to buy gold and asked to borrow money for documentation, taxes and other unexpected expenses that she said would be reimbursed when she returned to the UK.
One man lost £23,520. Another lost £700 and the third was defrauded out of £2,570.
In a fourth case a Grimsby woman was persuaded to hand over £2,000 to a man she formed a relationship with via social media who claimed to be an overseas doctor.
Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby said: “The impact on those targeted by these criminals should not be underestimated.
“It can ruin lives, both financially and emotionally. Those responsible spend time getting their victims to build up a real emotional bond, so when that trust is broken it can be devastating.
“The financial impact can also be huge. When you take into account that the average amount lost by UK victims of dating fraud is now said to be £10,000, it’s no surprise that many people get into debt.”