Romance scams cost victims £7.9m last year…
In today’s technological age, the use of dating apps to find romance is on the rise, which unfortunately means that romance fraud is too.
One of our Caxton customers was scammed almost £80,000 last year when she was targeted on an online dating website. Read her story to see the common signs of a scam and how to avoid them:
What is a romance scam?
Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet a romantic partner. However, in some cases, instead of finding love they find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money over. This is precisely what happened to one of our Caxton customers.
Diana* joined a dating site to find the partner of her dreams. She was swiftly approached online by someone that began actively pursuing her. He spent time building up trust and communicating online for hours at a time; this is otherwise known as the ‘grooming period.’
Conversations continued and developed until one day, the online partner asked Diana to send a large sum of money to his bank account, to assist him with an ‘ill relative.’
Naive to these scandals, Diana proceeded to send varying amounts of financial transfers over to this man over the course of 12 months, truly believing that she was helping her romantic partner.
It wasn’t until Diana confided in a family member about her online relationship that she then realised that she had been scammed for almost £80,000.
*Our customer has asked to be kept anonymous, so for the sake of this story we have called her by a false name, Diana.
How to tell if I’m being scammed?
Fraudsters are generally well-equipped to manipulate vulnerable individuals into their scams. However, there are many signposts that might help you spot them:
- They try to establish a bond quickly. For example, they may come across as more emotionally intense than most people, or fill your conversations with declarations like ‘they’ve never felt like this before.’
- They ask a lot of personal questions about you, yet avoid answering personal questions about themselves. Plus, if the information that they do tell you seems made up or simply doesn’t add up.
- They overtly ask for financial help or keep mentioning their financial issues, with the hope that you will reach out and help.
- You never meet them or see them in person.
- Their profile picture seems to be sourced from a search engine or stock photo provider.
How to stay safe online?
We are now a nation that is functioning online; from shopping for essentials, home schooling the kids, keeping in shape or communicating with our loved ones - which is why it’s never been more important to pay attention to our safety and security online.
Online scammers and cyber-criminals are more prevalent and sophisticated than ever, exploiting the current situation and using a variety of tricks that can easily fool us into visiting fake sites or opening phishing emails.
Keeping our customers' money and personal details secure is our priority, so we’ve created a handy guide on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe online.