Lonely souls looking for Valentine’s love are being warned not to fall prey to romance scams which have increased by over 30 per cent in the last year according to Lloyds bank.
The rise of dating apps and social media has made romance scamming easier, as criminals can more easily fake their identity to gain a victim’s trust before asking for money.
Although the number of scams has increased, the average amount lost by each victim fell slightly to £8,234, down from £8,655 last year.
Men were slightly more likely than women to fall victim to a romance scam, accounting for 53 per cent of all cases, while those between 65 and 74 were the most widely scammed age range.
The number of cases amongst 65-74 year olds increased by 75 per cent from last year, with the average amount lost to a scam standing at just over £12,000.
The south east of England was a particular hotspot, as relative to population size, the number of victims was around 15 per cent higher than the national average.
Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, said: “The convincing lies told by fraudsters mean that while romance scam victims think they are falling in love, they’re actually falling for a scam. As well as losing thousands of pounds they also have to deal with this emotional betrayal.
“The sad truth is there was never any genuine connection, with criminals ruthlessly targeting multiple victims at the same time, and disappearing with the money as soon as they get found out,” Ziegler continued.