12 February 2021
Romance fraud rises in lockdown
Over the past year there has been a huge increase in romance fraud. Romance fraud occurs when someone believes they have met the perfect (or almost perfect!) match through a dating app or website, but the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship.
The other person would use the dating app or website to gain your trust before asking for either money or enough personal information in order to steal your identity. According to Lloyds Bank people aged between 55 to 64 are most at risk of having their identity stolen.
Once you have formed a relationship, the other person may disclose a problem they are experiencing and require money to get out of the situation or have arranged to visit you but need money for the flight or visa.
They may also use the conversations to find out your personal details in order to commit identity fraud: e.g. they may ask for your date of birth, family background and address on the basis they want to get to know you. Alternatively, the other person may offer to send money to you which may lead to you unwittingly laundering money for them.
Action Fraud advise a number of ways to protect yourself including:
- Avoid giving away too many personal details.
- Never send or receive money (as the person may be trying to launder money through you).
- Never provide your bank details.
- Pick a reputable dating website for messaging and don’t use social media or text.
Across the UK between August 2019 and August 2020, Action Fraud received more than 400 reports a month from victims of romance fraud with the average scam being £10,000. During lockdown there has been a 20% rise in bank fraud linked to dating scams. It is estimated that £68 million was lost to romance fraud in 2020.
If you have been a victim of romance fraud and are having difficulties in progressing the allegation with the police, please contact James Constable on 07341 566327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.