WOMEN from Basingstoke have been conned out of tens of thousands of pounds by a man they met on a dating website.

Detectives in Basingstoke are investigating the case and are warning people to be aware of the scam.

The women were contacted by a man claiming to be from Southsea who, after striking up a relationship with them, claimed to have a significant amount of money due to him from inheritance in South Africa. He told the women that he needed money to unlock the funds, and his victims, some of whom are from Basingstoke, gave the man money on several occasions which ran into thousands of pounds.

Detective constable Darrin Carey said: “I would like to appeal to any other women who believe they may have fallen victim to a similar online dating site to contact me.

“I would urge anyone that is asked to part with money in this way to reconsider making bank transfers in these circumstances to anyone they have not met.”

Anyone with information about these scams, or who believes they have been a victim, should contact Det Con Carey at Basingstoke police station on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Advice given by Hampshire Constabulary for people using online dating sites includes:

  • Just because the dating site is considered reputable, this does not mean the people using it are genuine.
  • Don’t fall for internet dating scams – the fraudster won’t ask for money immediately, but it won’t be long before they request financial assistance.
  • Try and speak to the person on the phone before you plan to meet them.
  • Never agree to meet at your home address.
  • Always meet in a public place and let someone know where you are going.
  • Plan your journey home before you go out.
  • Be cautious if something seems too good to be true.
  • Refrain from excessive drinking.
  • Trust your instincts and if things seem wrong, make an excuse to leave or ask for help.