Lloyds bank scam warning after man loses £42,000 online and ‘can’t buy dream home’ | Personal Finance | Finance | #lovescams | #datingapps

One man lost £42,000 life savings after falling victim to this scam and warns others to watch out for the signs.

Online dating is a popular way to meet new people, but fraudsters use fake profiles to try to steal money from people by preying on their emotions.

Alexandr Gutu, had dreamed of starting a family and buying his own house in Derbyshire, however, this dream was taken away after a scammer pretended to be a woman in need of help.

The 33-year-old had been working up to 320 hours a month at his two jobs to save enough money to buy a house.

Unfortunately, his hours got reduced which meant he wasn’t earning as much money. However, he used the extra free time he had to sign up to a dating website in hopes of meeting someone to settle down with.

Within days he started speaking to a scammer who was using a fake alias, pretending to be a woman and they started messaging each other frequently.

Mr Gutu told Derbyshire Live: “We had conversations about life, family, and the future. One day she asked me about my plans for the future and I answered that I want to buy a house in England.

“She said that she had an uncle who worked at a big European company and does some trading and could help provide me with some help with extra income because I lost my hours [at my job].”

After some time talking, Mr Gutu felt he had developed a relationship with her as he also had conversations with the woman’s ‘uncle’.

The woman’s ‘uncle’ explained that because he was in a relationship with his niece, he would help him out in the cryptocurrency world to get some of the money back that he was losing as his hours were reduced.

An account was set up in Mr Gutu’s name and he transferred a small amount of money into the account through cryptocurrency.

He said: “Everything was alright, I transferred some more money because it was looking good until I transferred a big amount of money and then requested some back. The scammers deleted the WhatsApp account and disappeared with my money.”

Mr Gutu sent the scammers £42,000 in total as he thought he was helping his girlfriend.

He continued: “Now without my savings, I can’t buy a house, I can’t create a family, I’m always working.

“I wanted to find a girlfriend instead found a scam. I worked out that it will take me two years of working every day to earn the money back.

“I, myself, feel guilty, I was trying to find a girlfriend and was trusting. I did these payments.”

Romance scams increased by 30 percent last year, and victims lost £8,234 on average, slightly less than last year, which saw victims losing around 8,655, according to new research from Lloyds Bank.

The data shows that men now make up the majority of reported cases at 53 percent.

Liz Ziegler, retail bank fraud and financial crime director said: “As a rule of thumb, we strongly discourage anyone from transferring money to someone they have not met in person.

“After all, there’s no limit to the depths a scammer would sink to get what they want.”

On their website, Lloyds explains that fake dating profiles are after only one thing – “your money.” They warn that money should never be a part of any dating chat.

They listed a few more tell-tale signs of a dating scam:

  • Let’s chat elsewhere – They want to move the chat to another app, like WhatsApp.
  • Like you lots – Quickly express strong feelings for you, even love.
  • Can’t meet in person – Their job stops them from meeting up. Being in the military, working abroad or on oil rigs are common cover stories.
  • Odd profile – Pictures could be fake or of a celebrity, or it doesn’t have much about their life.
  • Can’t video call – Phone or internet problems stop them from chatting on video.
  • Give you a pet name – This stops them using the wrong name, as they chat to lots of people at the same time.

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