Over the last year thousands have fallen foul of fraudsters and scammers with fake profiles and sob stories hoping to swindle Brits looking for love on internet dating sites
Fraudsters peddling fake love online tricked victims out of a record £30.9million last year.
More than 3,000 people were hit by the scams, losing £9,500 on average, says UK Finance, which speaks for the major high street banks.
The total is 41% up on the £17.8m netted in the previous year. The biggest cons are by gangs who use fake pics on dating sites to trawl for victims.
After winning someone’s trust, they then invent sob stories and beg for cash to be transferred – before any face-to-face meeting has taken place. In one case, an unnamed ex-cop reportedly lost £107,000.
Calling for an end to the shame felt by victims, Wayne May, founder of group Scam Survivors, said: “The use of dating sites has become much more accepted and widespread in recent years.
“We need to lose the stigma of falling victim to a scam. The mindset of ‘a fool and his money…’ needs to be fixed. Covid meant people spent a lot more time alone and looking to make friendships online, which created a perfect storm for the scammers.”
He also called for dating sites to have more prominent warnings. The report says web fraud overall was a record £783million, with fake texts about parcels, tax refunds, and Covid tests and cures all used to try to get bank and personal details.
Banks say they refund around 40% of money lost, and also block thousands of scam attempts themselves.