19 Oct 2018
Brits looking for love are at risk of losing thousands of pounds to romance scams or ‘rom-cons’, according to Barclays Bank, which said it has conducted new research on the form of fraud.
Romance scams occur when someone is convinced to make a payment to a person they have met online and believe they are in a relationship with them, but that person has entered into the relationship with the intention to steal funds or information.
The Barclays study shows that one in three romance scams (37%) results in losses of more than £5,000, more than five-times the UK’s average monthly rent. Almost two-thirds of cases (57%) result in losses of at least £2,000.
It also revealed that those aged 45-64 are leaving themselves most vulnerable to the work of scammers, and only 45% undertake basic checks to ensure the dating sites they are using are reputable, while only 42% will not meet a potential partner in person until feeling confident they are trustworthy.
Because of this, these ‘Baby-boomers’ now represent more than half (55%) of all reported instances of romance scams, the bank said.
Jodie Gilbert, Barclays Head of Digital Safety, said: “Whilst millions of us take to dating websites and apps to find true love, criminals are getting ready to pounce on anyone who lets their guard down.
“We must all remain aware whilst looking for the warning signs, such as someone asking you to help them out of an ‘unfortunate situation’ by sending money.”
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