More people falling victim to romance scams | HK Wealth

More people falling victim to romance scam

Falling victim to a scam can be very traumatic, but romance scams in particular can be incredibly damaging and upsetting for the victim.

People who are looking for love can often be emotionally vulnerable, and that makes them very appealing targets for financial fraudsters.

These criminals will use dating apps and social media to target possible victims, hiding behind fake names and photos to shower the person with affection over several months.More people falling victim to romance scam

After winning their trust and devotion through an online relationship, the scammer will, at some point, ask the victim for money and give a plausible reason for doing so.

For example, the unsuspecting target may be desperate to meet the other person face-to-face, so will be happy to pay if the scammer claims they can’t afford to travel to meet them in person.

Once they’ve received a modest sum of money, they might ask for cash again, perhaps after claiming they have family issues to deal with, which apparently prevent them from meeting face-to-face.

Sadly, more and more people are being targeted by romance scammers, with data from Lloyds Bank showing the number of victims rose by more than a fifth in 2023.

So what steps can you take to protect yourself?

Verify identities before getting involved

Scammers often use fake profiles and stolen photos to create a believable persona, and will refuse to show their face on video.

Use reverse image searches and consider asking for additional photos to confirm the authenticity of the person you’re speaking to – and if they consistently refuse to speak with you over video call, treat this as a red flag that something isn’t quite right.

Don’t share personal information

Be careful about sharing any personal details, such as your home address or bank account information with anyone online.

If the person you’re speaking to is being pushy, then that again should be treated as a warning sign that they aren’t who they claim to be.

Be wary of sob stories

Romance scammers often try to elicit sympathy, perhaps by claiming there’s a sudden family emergency, to persuade their target to send them money.

It’s important to be vigilant for sob stories that end with you being asked to help financially, no matter how close you may feel to the other person.

Take your time getting to know someone

While many successful relationships begin online, scammers will work quickly to establish a deep emotional connection with their target.

It’s therefore really important to be level-headed when you’re engaging with strangers online and not let yourself get swept away by feelings that are hard to control.

If your online partner seems to be trying to progress the relationship very quickly and pressure you into making immediate financial commitments, take a step back and consider that all may not be as it seems.

Report suspicious activity

If you recognise any red flags and believe you could be dealing with a fraudster, contact the relevant authorities and the dating platform you’re using.

By making your experiences known, you can help to make sure that scammers are identified and that other people aren’t similarly targeted.

Familiarise yourself with fraudsters’ methods

You’ll be in a much stronger position to defend yourself against financial scammers if you know what tactics they use. Make a point of educating yourself and understanding the methods they employ, so you can recognise causes for concern and avoid falling prey to scammers yourself.

Who is falling victim to romance scams?

According to the Lloyds Bank research, men accounted for 52 per cent of romance scam victims in 2023.

Men and women aged between 55 and 64 were found to be most likely to be defrauded by romance scammers, as the number of cases among this age group increased by almost half last year.

However, people in the age group above are losing the most money, with figures showing 65 to 74-year-old victims were tricked out of £13,123 on average.

The study also revealed that across all age groups, women are reporting higher losses, losing £9,083 on average, compared with £5,145 for men.



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Garry Hale
Garry Hale
MD & Certified Financial Planner

A brief meeting might be of interest, especially if you’re unsure just how wealth management and financial planning could help you.

It would only require the investment of an hour or so of your time, and the coffee’s not bad either.