Police are appealing to trace a man linked to a number of romance fraud incidents.

It is reported that the man has met different male victims via dating sites. He has then defrauded them of large amounts of money in romance scams.

To help with their inquiries, Hertfordshire police would like to hear from anyone who recognises the man pictured or has information on his whereabouts. He also has links to London, Essex, Kent and Scotland.

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s LGBTQ+ Strategic Lead Superintendent Owen Pyle said: “We have specially trained LGBTQ+ liaison officers at Hertfordshire Constabulary who are able to help and support victims.

"Liaison officers can be accessed by contacting us online via www.herts.police.uk/contact or by calling 101.

"Any information you have, no matter how small it may seem, could be key to our investigation so please get in touch. Any information reported will be treated with the strictest of confidence.”

If you recognise the man in the image released by police, report it online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in Herts' Force Communications Room via online web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101, quoting Op Hackmore.

Alternatively, you can stay 100 per cent anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org

For any further information on romance fraud, visit the Action Fraud website.  

Herts Advertiser: Police would like to speak to the man pictured.Police would like to speak to the man pictured. (Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary)

What is romance fraud?

Romance scams involve people being duped into sending money to criminals who go to great lengths to gain their trust and convince them that they are in a genuine relationship.

They use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise alarm bells.

Spotting signs of romance fraud

•    Be wary of giving out personal information on a website or chatroom. Fraudsters will quickly contact you, often showing you glamorous photos of themselves and gaining your trust.

•    A fraudster will make conversation more personal to get information out of you, but won’t tell you much about themselves that you can check or verify.

•    Romance fraudsters often claim to have professional roles that keep them away from home for a long time. This could be a ploy to deter your suspicions around not meeting in person.

•    Fraudsters will usually attempt to steer you away from chatting on a legitimate dating site that can be monitored. Stay on the platform that you started using initially, rather than switching to email, text or phone.

•    A fraudster may tell stories to target your emotions and get you to give them money. They may claim they have an ill relative or are stranded in a country they don’t want to be in. They may not ask you directly for money, hoping instead that you’ll offer it out of the goodness of your heart. Do not do this.

•    Sometimes the fraudsters will send the victim valuable items such as laptops, computers and mobile phones, asking them to resend them elsewhere. They will invent a reason as to why they need the goods sent, but this may just be a way for them to cover up their criminal activity. Alternatively they may ask a victim to buy the goods themselves and send them elsewhere.

•    Often, they will ask victims to accept money into their bank account and then transfer it to someone else using bank accounts, MoneyGram, Western Union, iTunes vouchers or other gift cards. These scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering and you could be committing a criminal offence.