£1.2m lost to dating scams in Leicestershire and Rutland in 13 months | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

We’re being warned to stay vigilant this Valentine’s Day

Author: Ellis MaddisonPublished 13th Feb 2024

Fraud experts are warning those of us looking for love this Valentine’s Day to be vigilant of dating scams, as figures reveal £1.2m was lost in Leicestershire and Rutland in just over a year.

The figures, from the NFIB Fraud and Cyber Crime Dashboard, show 136 reports of dating scams were made to Leicestershire Police in the last 13 months.

Research, from building society Nationwide, shows:

  • Romance scams with male victims rose 40% between 2022 and 2023, according to Nationwide’s customer data
  • However, women are likely to lose more to love scams, with an average loss of £10,610, compared to £8,181 for men in 2023
  • 20% of romance scam cases reported by men to Nationwide in 2023 involved victims aged 20-30 years old

What is a ‘romance scam’?

Jim Winters, Nationwide’s director of economic crime, said: “Criminals can be very convincing and persuasive enough to get someone looking for love or feeling lonely to give them their trust, personal details and ultimately their money, even when they haven’t actually met each other in person.

“Our data shows all ages can be a target of romance scams as criminals will cast their net far and wide to stand the best chance of snaring a victim.”

Nationwide warned that fraudsters will try to move interactions away from dating apps and websites. They may encourage people to use private emails, phone calls and instant messaging, that cannot be easily tracked.

How big is the problem in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire?

The NFIB Fraud and Cyber Crime Dashboard figures show 142 reports of dating scams were made to Lincolnshire Police in the past 13 months, with a reported £1m lost in total.

In Cambridgeshire, 136 reports were made in that time, with just over £650k reportedly lost.

Gary Murray, from Crimestoppers, said:

‘These romance frauds, they go on for weeks, months and sometimes years, building up that relationship online.’

‘They never want to meet and then eventually, when the time is right, and they have managed to get your details that they want, then they go in for the big kill.’

‘I know that people think they have found their ideal partner but, if it is too good to be true, and if they want to know everything about you but don’t want to reveal anything about themselves, it should be a warning signal.’

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National Cyber Security