HSBC has issued a warning over dating fraud – as the number of scams targeting singletons skyrockets. HSBC UK says dating fraud is all too common, with scammers targeting unwitting Brits via apps, websites and social media accounts.
One victim, Marjorie, was targeted on a dating website after being widowed, and fell for a man called Gerald. “Most communication was through WhatsApp, although we also spoke over the phone,” said Marjorie.
Gerald claimed to be from Milton Keynes and told her he owned his own electrical business. Marjorie said: “Towards the end of February, he began to mention that he was having cash flow problems with his business. He said he needed a short-term loan of funds to finish the project.”
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The mystery man – who she never met – told her he would repay her when the project was complete at the beginning of April. Gerald sent Marjorie a copy of his passport, shipping documents and a link to a website showing his company Gerald Symonds Electrical.
“He also sent an image of a cheque for £2 million, which he said was due to him on completion of the project,” said Marjorie. But all turned out to be fake – and she was scammed out of £54k. Marjorie said: “I had genuinely been having work done on my home around the same time.”
HSBC warned [the scammers] “start asking for money.” It goes on: “Sometimes it’s to cover the cost of coming to the UK. Or they may claim they can’t afford to pay for a relative’s urgent operation.” If you think you’ve been the victim of a romance scam, you can call the bank using the number on the back of your credit or debit card.
You can also report it to the national fraud reporting centre Action Fraud.