A man appeared in court yesterday (Monday) accused of what police have described as a “£120,000 romance fraud”.
Sheikh Farooq Ijaz, 45, of Banbury, Oxfordshire, was last night bailed over the charges following a hearing at Dundee Sheriff Court.
Police issued a warning for people to use “reputable” dating sites and never to give money to someone they’ve only met online.
Ijaz appeared on petition facing a single charge of fraud during a brief private hearing before Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC.
He made no plea or declaration and the case was continued for further examination.
Defence solicitor David Sinclair asked that Ijaz be released on bail meantime.
Sheriff Drummond allowed him bail ahead of further court dates being set.
Detective Inspector Iain McPhail of the Economic Crime and Financial Investigation Unit said: “I would give the following advice to anyone who is considering looking for potential partners online or referred to them through a third party.
“If you are being referred to a potential partner by a third party, please ensure that they actually know that individual.
“Take steps to verify that images you see of that person are actually real images of them and not taken from the internet to give you a positive impression of them.
“Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
“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.
“Unfortunately there are some callous individuals who will prey on the trust of unsuspecting victims and take advantage of their compassion.
“Anyone who has any concerns should contact Police Scotland on 101.”