RESIDENTS are being warned to be cautious when using dating apps following an increase in "romance fraud."

North Wales Police issued the warning on Monday, along with detailed advice from Action Fraud.

A police spokesman said: "Romance fraud is up 58 per cent since last year, with more people meeting others online and through dating apps during lockdown.

"Not everyone is who they say they are online so it’s important to be careful when sharing personal information about yourself."

Action Fraud defines romance fraud as; "When you think you’ve met the perfect partner through an online dating website or app, but the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship with you.

"They’re using the site to gain your trust and ask you for money or enough personal information to steal your identity."

Users of such apps or sites are urged by Action Fraud to avoid giving away too many personal details, such as revealing their full name, date of birth and home address - which may lead to their identity being stolen.

A spokesman said: "Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.

"Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of them asking you for money."

The organisation has said there are signs of potential fraud which users can spot, including having struck up a relationship with someone online but they’re asking a lot of personal questions and are not interested in telling much about themselves.

Other signs can include them inventing a reason to ask for help, using the emotional attachment the person built with them, and their pictures being too perfect – they may have been stolen from an actor or model.

A reverse image search can find photos that have been taken from somewhere else.

The Action Fraud spokesman added: "It can be embarrassing to feel tricked into thinking you’ve formed a relationship online, but if you tell us we can take a report in confidence. "Report it to us online or call 0300 123 2040."

For more information, visit: