For Love or Money: Woman recalls sending money in romance scam
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Scams are rife, but a particularly common tactic is a romance scam. Romance scams involve criminals adopting a fake identity, pretending to be a romantic interest to gain affection and trust from a victim.
They then exploit this goodwill to pressure people into sending money or sharing personal information.
Currently, 64 recorded cases of romance fraud are noted every week within the banking sector – showing the prevalence of this type of crime.
TSB found those in the 51 to 65 age category now account for almost half of money lost to romance fraud.
Alarmingly, it was also found over 65s account for a quarter of money sent to scammers.
In under three years, romance scammers have claimed over 7,000 victims, and stolen over £65million, according to TSB.
Money lost spikes by some 95 percent, with a 50 percent increase in cases.
But what are some of the warning signs people can look out for when it comes to a romance scam?
Sadly, romance scams can sometimes be difficult to spot straight away, as scammers often spend time building trust and a relationship with their victims before asking for money.
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In fact, TSB found the average ‘relationship’, lasts around 53 days.
The bank uncovered common stories used by scammers, which should ring alarm bells for anyone who hears them.
A request for medical help or money to get by in a difficult circumstance is perhaps the most used excuse by scammers.
Some one in six scammers claim they are stuck abroad and need help supporting themselves, with ‘working on an oil rig’ a particular favourite.
Almost one in 10 cases see scammers receiving money to book travel to be with their ‘partners,’ – for trips they will never make.
As a result, TSB is warning people to stay vigilant, especially when they are online.
These ‘relationships’ can often spring up through social media or dating websites or apps, so staying alert is key.
Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention at TSB, said: “The best way of beating romance scammers is by talking to friends and family about the relationships you’re in.
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“If you’re ever asked to send money, then it’s time to stop.
“Social media and tech firms need to step up to better protect those seeking relationships on their platforms.”
Mr Davis warned people should always remain suspicious and never provide personal details to someone they have never met in person.
Individuals should always take their time as no matter how good a relationship sounds, it could all be false.
The expert added: “Fraudsters concoct elaborate and emotive stories to lure people in; so be suspicious of people accounting for their absence or trying to paint an intricate picture of their working life.”
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