The average amount lost to romance scams last year was £6,937, slightly down from £8,237 in 2022
Lloyds Bank has revealed that reports of romance scams rose by a fifth (22%) in 2023 compared to the previous year.
The average amount lost was £6,937, slightly less than the £8,237 average in 2022. People aged between 55 and 64 were most likely to report being scammed, with men more likely to fall victim but women losing larger amounts – an average of £9,083 compared to men’s £5,145.
The research also showed pensioners were most at risk of losing large amounts of money. Those aged between 65 and 74 lost the most money, with an average loss of £13,123 to these cruel scams.
Scammers can be highly skilled in finding ways to con their victims. Romance scams target those looking for love, with fraudsters often using fake photos and making up reasons why they can’t meet in person.
They build trust over time before asking for money, usually for family issues, medical bills or travel costs. Liz Ziegler, who works at Lloyds Bank to stop fraud, warned: “As soon as someone you’re talking to starts asking for money, step back from the situation and never hand anything over. Talking to a real-life friend or family member can be a good way to sense-check what’s going on.”
Here are some tips from Lloyds to help you stay safe:
1. Be careful if strangers contact you on social media.
2. Watch out for profile photos that look like they could be of models.
3. Talk to someone who knows you well to get their opinion.
4. Never give money to a stranger, even if you think you know them well online.
5. Be very careful when someone always has excuses about why they can’t meet in person.
6. Never tell anyone your personal or financial details.
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