This specific type of scam happens when fraudsters convince innocent victims that they are romantically interested in them and eventually con them
This specific type of scam happens when fraudsters convince innocent victims that they are romantically interested in them and eventually con them out of money. In this day and age, romance scams are usually carried out online with fraudsters creating fake profiles to lure in unsuspecting people. Santander is attempting to educate its customers on how to spot these dangerous scams.
The bank is warning that scammers play the long game with their victims in order to build trust and secure any money they can.
Many fraudsters create a reason why they cannot meet their “partner” but will also invent a reason to ask for financial help after an emotional attachment has been made.
Despite promising to repay their loved one back, fraudsters will then stop replying to messages and requests for repayment.
For instance, an excuse often used by romance scammers is help for travel payment or hospital bills, Santander said.
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On its website, the bank provided examples of how customers can best protect themselves from harm when faced with potential romance scams.
Santander stated: “Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person. Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear.
“Try to remove the emotion from your decision making no matter how caring or persistent the ‘prospective partner’ is.
“Be wary of requests for money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you have met online.”
Recent analysis by Action Fraud has found that nearly £92million has been lost through dating scams in the last year.
One woman named Sally spoke with the scam watchdog about her father’s experience being the victim of a romance scam and how it impacted her wider family.
In his 60s and suffering from Parkinson’s, Sally’s father lost £1,000 to a romance scam after being approached by a woman on social media.
On the situation, Sally explained: “This whole experience has been incredibly stressful, for me as well as for my father and it was really hard to approach the subject with him.
“After he transferred the money, I spoke to him about what happened and I sent him news articles about romance fraud to help him understand this is a common type of scam.”
Despite this tumultuous episode, Sally was able to convince her bank to refund the money she lost after seeking guidance from the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit (NECVCU).
She added: “I didn’t know what support I would get if I reported this, but having received such great advice from the NECVCU, I wish I had reported this earlier.
“This incident really affected my mental health and it was a huge relief to speak to someone who really understood how they could help both me and my father.
“Just knowing that someone was there and able to listen made such a difference and they went above and beyond to explain to my father how scammers work.”
Dr Hannah Shimko, a policy director at the Online Dating Association, added: “Online dating is now of the most common ways to meet a romantic partner. While most users are genuine, there are always those who are looking to take advantage of the vulnerable looking for love.
“It is essential users educate themselves on how to be a smart online dater, and to be aware of the actions fraudsters will use to manipulate them.
“Daters should check in with trusted family and friends during their online dating journey to share experience, and friends and family can watch for any change in behaviour.”