Watch Out For Romance Scams

Today, Friday 14th February is notably the day of love.

With the prospect of love, financial stability tends to come hand in hand. Although romance scams don’t seem to be as prevalent anymore, it’s still a timely reminder that these phishing emails still do exist.

It has been revealed that 27% of those on dating sites had been scammed by fake personas (‘catfish’) in 2019.

Cyber criminals still use the same template to con their ‘loved ones’ out of money. They trick the victim into wiring them funds to deal with an ‘emergency’. However, some have even taken it a step further and entice their victim into becoming a money mule.

According to a report by UK Finance, 21% of dating website users have been asked for money or have given money to someone they met online.

The average amount of money asked for during these frauds is £321. But the overall total is a lot more worrying. In the first half of 2019, £7.9million is believed to have been lost to this type of fraud. This has since doubled on the corresponding timescale in 2018.

Men (33%) were more likely to say they had been catfished than women (20%), and also more likely to be asked for money than women (26% versus 15%).

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said:

“Romance scams are both emotionally and financially damaging for victims.

“Although banks are always looking out for suspicious activity, customers must be on their guard and protect themselves too. Always be wary of requests for money from someone you’ve never met in person. If you think you’ve been the victim of a romance scam, contact your bank immediately.”

When it comes to someone asking you for money, it’s imperative you know who they are and what the money is to be used for.

Cyber criminals use similar phishing tactics to romance fraud, when they attempt to infiltrate law firms. Trusting someone you barely know, should ring alarm bells. So remain vigilant when you’re corresponding to people via email regarding financial transactions.