Victims of romance scams tricked out of more than £5m this year, new data from Lloyds Bank reveals
Victims of romance scams have been tricked out of more than £5million this year, new data from Lloyds Bank reveals.
In a romance scam, the victim is duped into handing over money to someone they meet online, for example on social media or a dating website, and with whom they believe they are in a relationship.
Fraudsters often claim to be abroad, for example in the military or working on an oil rig. That gives them a cover story as to why they cannot meet in person.
Fraud: In a romance scam, the victim is duped into handing over money to someone they meet online
Once they have built a connection with their victim, the fraudster then claims to have an emergency for which they need cash. If they are sent money, the fraudster asks for increasingly large sums.
Liz Ziegler, retail fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, says: ‘If a dating discussion turns to sending money, that’s the time to stop and think. Talking to a friend or family is always helpful as they often spot suspicious signs and break the spell before it’s too late.’
In one case, a 57-year-old Lloyds customer from Northwich, Cheshire, lost £115,000 over four months to a romance scam.
Recently bereaved, the woman sought support on a bereavement forum where she soon built a relationship with a man who claimed he too had recently lost a loved one.
He soon began to ask for help to pay off tax bills, and do repairs on a property. The victim has been reimbursed.