Leicester named hotspot for catfishing cases as government announces inquiry into romance fraud | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

As dating apps such as Hinge and Tinder gain more and more traction worldwide, research has shown that Leicester is one of the top two locations for catfishing cases in the UK. Catfishing is when a person takes information and images, typically from other people, and uses them to create a new identity for themselves.

According to a study of 2,000 people aged 18 to 50 across the UK done by ExpressVPN, almost a quarter (22%) of the public have fallen victim to catfishing in their lifetime, with Leicester and Oxford ranked as the number two hotspots for catfishing cases.

This research comes on the back of the news that the Home Affairs Committee has announced a new inquiry into fraud, following claims that social media platforms are failing to tackle the increasing issue of romance scams. As well as financial loss, being catfished can lead to serious mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

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Particular hotspots across the country are more prone to catfishing, with Edinburgh (32%) topping the chart, closely followed by Leicester (31%), Oxford (31%), London (29%), Liverpool (29%) and Derby (29%). The safest area in regards to catfishing is Chelmsford (10%).

The research revealed that 31% of victims met their perpetrators in person, only to find out they weren’t who they said they were. The survey also showed that men are more likely to fall victim than women, with 24% of men having been catfished as opposed to 20% of women.

In regards to age range, 18-24-year-olds are most at risk of catfishing, with 34% of 18-24-year-olds having been catfished. A quarter of victims were speaking to their perpetrator for more than a year before realising they were not who they claimed to be, and 14% found their perpetrator to be someone they knew in real life.

Privacy Advocate for ExpressVPN Lauren Hendry Parsons said: “With the emergence of social media and dating apps came the catfishers—scammers who create a fake persona, complete with attractive photos, to form relationships with strangers predicated on lies. We live so much of our lives online now that it’s not unusual for our first connection with someone to be virtual, including with potential employers, colleagues, bank and retail support staff.

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