Neighbourhood police have issued guidance around Valentine’s day on romance fraud.

Romance fraud is dating exclusively with the intention of persuading you to lend money or steal your identity. It often seeks to manipulate its victims through subtle tactics.

Police advice is to be extremely careful if you are encouraged to keep your relationship secret from your family and friends.

Regardless of how long you have been getting to know someone, or how much you may trust them, they might not have your best interests at heart. The Take Five campaign outlines three principles to prevent yourself from being a victim of fraud.

Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse, or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Police urge victims of fraud to contact Action Fraud, Victims First, or Victim Support. If you have any information about those behind romance fraud, you can prevent further scams by contacting Crimestoppers UK. This can be done anonymously at