Sweetheart Swindles As Valentine’s Day Approaches Metro Bank Warns Against Romance Scams
We are all a sucker for romance and millions of us use online dating, but as Valentine’s Day approaches Metro Bank is warning those looking for love to guard against being scammed as they saw a 43% increase in romance scams from 2021 to 2022.
Three quarters of Brits – that’s a whopping 40 million – will celebrate Valentine’s Day spending a staggering £1.4 billion to celebrate romance. Scammers look to cash in on any key event and last year 38 percent of online daters were asked to give, or lend money despite never having met their online sweetheart.
“You cannot underestimate how callous and unfeeling these type of scammers are – no matter how charming they initially appear,” warns Metro Bank’s Head of Fraud & Investigations, Baz Thompson. “Just like a real relationship, they are prepared to invest time and patience in getting to know you to make you feel that you are in a real relationship, but it is always with a payday in their sights. The requests for money or support may start small – but they will quickly escalate. The most common lies can be highly emotive with requests for money for medical treatment or emergency travel. Our customers who have been scammed would tell you to never give money to someone you have not met.”
Be wary if….
- You are being pressured to move away from dating websites to text, phone or instant message.
- They declare love or strong feelings after only a few conversations.
- They ask you lots of personal questions, but don’t share themselves.
- They duck video calls or requests to meet in person.
- They ask for any financial support – be that an Amazon gift card, or direct money requests via wire services, PayPal or other money transfer apps.
- You are being pressured and/or emotionally blackmailed to act quickly.
Baz Thompson concludes: “Fraud is the most common crime in the UK and there are simply not enough resources to fight it. Despite accounting for 40% of recorded crime, only 2% of police funding is dedicated to tackling fraud. Consumers need to do more to protect themselves – so if you are being pressured to act quickly, or give money, please be aware that this is likely to be a scam. Stop, Challenge and Protect yourself from becoming a scam victim.”
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