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Meet the team taking on “Tinder Swindlers”

FRAUD by con artists, rogue traders and “Tinder Swindler” romance scammers costs Cambridgeshire residents a whopping £1.5 – £2 million a month.*

Netflix smash hits like “The Puppet Master” and “Tinder Swindler” show the devastating effect that fraud can have on victims. The popular documentaries also make clear how difficult it can be for police forces to fight fraud, especially when victims are not even aware that they are victims.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is pioneering new ways to fight fraudsters and are increasing support for the victims of this heartless crime. They have a unique, two-pronged approach to fraud and cybercrime. They have established one team which investigates reports of fraud and another team which works to prevent it from happening in the first place.

They work closely with Action Fraud to individually contact each victim of fraud in Cambridgeshire that has been identified. The team offer support and advice to help victims cope in the wake of the crime and to protect themselves in the future.

They also work closely with banking groups to identify potential victims and provide swift intervention. Banks provide the team with reports when they identify someone making unusual withdrawals of money (known as SARs) for the team to follow up on. This work has enabled them to spot and support victims of romance fraud and even young people who are being used as money mules for drug trafficking.

“We are implementing a wrap-around approach of prevention, intervention and support for victims,” explained DI Tom Rowe, who heads up the team. “We mustn’t forget that fraudsters spend long periods of time grooming their victims and tricking them into thinking they are in a relationship before asking for cash. Victims are not only losing life-altering amounts of money but also have to deal with the emotional cost of realising their relationship was all a scam.”

Darryl Preston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough added: “In Cambridgeshire, we are working hard to stamp out fraudsters of all kinds. Thanks to the investment made by the public through the policing part of council tax in 2021, this trailblazing team is able to enhance support to people falling foul to this heinous crime.”

 To find out tips for protecting yourself from scammers you can visit the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams website. If you have been a victim of fraud you can report it via Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

*Figure provided by Cambridgeshire Constabulary. All reported fraud and cybercrime.