Men targeted in romance scams as Nationwide releases data ahead of Valentine’s Day | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

There’s been a dramatic rise in romance scams targeting men, as figures from Nationwide show reports from male victims shot up by 40% between 2022 and 2023.

Meanwhile, incidents involving females fell by 2%, the building society found. There was a particular surge in young male victims, with one fifth of these scams hitting men aged between 20 to 30.

The bank’s data indicates that women typically lose more money than their male counterparts, with the average claim for ladies reaching £10,610 compared to £8,181 for gents. The information was shared ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Nationwide is urging those who are anxious about certain payments to make use of its scam checker before parting with any cash. They’ve pledged to fully refund customers who are scammed unless they were explicitly advised not to proceed with the transaction.

Nationwide’s director of economic crime, Jim Winters, has warned: “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.”

In one instance, a Nationwide customer was duped by a fraudster they met on social media. The scammer claimed to be a US military personnel and had supposedly sent expensive gifts to the customer. However, the customer was told that these gifts were held until taxes and customs fees were paid.

After paying £7,000, the customer was contacted by a “courier” who claimed that the police had seized the gifts and more money was needed. A family member reported the scam and after visiting a Nationwide branch, the customer realised it was a scam. No further payments were made and the initial payment was refunded.

Nationwide has warned that scammers often try to move interactions away from dating apps and websites to private emails, phone calls and instant messaging, which are harder to track.

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National Cyber Security