Sadly, scams are rife, and many criminals will attempt to play on people’s emotions to make them part with their hard-earned cash. This was the case for Mark*, who didn’t realise he had been reeled into a scam until it was too late – with saddening consequences.
Mark had set up a profile on a dating app in the hopes of finding love, but scammers were on the prowl, looking for their next victim.
While using the app, Mark was contacted by a man, and they quickly struck up a conversation.
Soon enough, the pair moved from the dating website to communicating via phone, but this was only the start of a nightmare.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Mark said: “He was overly affectionate.
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“He told me I needed to transfer money to vouchers and he would collect them.”
The scammer told Mark only a small investment of £50 would be needed to create a potentially huge return, and with the prospect of making money it seemed like a no brainer.
Once Mark had sent £50 in vouchers, the man then told him there had been an error with the transaction, and he would need to send another £50.
But after this transaction, Mark’s suspicions became aroused when the man continued to ask for more vouchers.
He realised he had been scammed when he refused to send more vouchers, and the man became “not so pleasant”.
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Mark added: “I felt really ashamed. I set out to make money, and I ended up losing £100 in a matter of moments.
“My word of warning to others is don’t trust things people say behind a screen, especially when you don’t know them away from the screen!”
Sadly, Mark fell victim to what is commonly known as a romance scam, which can target people who are looking for love.
Romance scams happen where someone expresses interest in a romantic relationship with the intention of manipulating a person into sending them money.
Barclays estimates this type of scam can cost victims £4,090 on average, and it is fairly easy for people to be reeled in.
As a result, the bank has stressed it is vital for Britons to remain vigilant when dating online, as many of these scams occur via tech platforms.
The most susceptible group are those aged 51 to 60, according to the bank, with this group accounting for over a third of all money lost to romance scams.
Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, said: “Dating apps can be a great way to meet people, but it’s important to remember that not everyone you speak to will have the best of intentions.
“Scammers can use dating apps and social media sites to manipulate you into sending them money.
“You should never feel pressured into doing this. If something sounds suspicious or doesn’t feel right, stop engaging with the profile and speak to someone you trust for a second opinion.”
*name has been changed to protect the identities of those involved.