Nationwide said there was a small 2% drop in scams involving female victims
Reports of romance scams involving men have surged by 40%, according to figures from Nationwide Building Society.
On the flip side, there was a small drop of 2% in scams involving women. From Nationwide’s analysis, one in five (20%) victims who reported romance fraud were men aged between 20 and 30. The data also highlighted that women tend to lose more than men, with an average loss of £10,610 compared with £8,181 for men.
Nationwide released this data as Valentine’s Day approaches. They’re urging customers to use their scam checker service before making any payments. Importantly, unless warned otherwise, if customers make a payment and then get scammed, Nationwide will fully reimburse them.
Jim Winters, Nationwide’s director of economic crime, commented: “Criminals can be very convincing and persuasive enough to get someone looking for love or feeling lonely to give them their trust, personal details and ultimately their money, even when they haven’t actually met each other in person.”
He added, “Our data shows all ages can be a target of romance scams as criminals will cast their net far and wide to stand the best chance of snaring a victim.” In one instance, a Nationwide customer was duped by a fraudster they met on social media.
The scammer claimed to be a US military personnel and had supposedly sent expensive gifts to the customer. However, the customer was told that these gifts were held until taxes and customs fees were paid. After paying £7,000, the customer was contacted by a “courier” who claimed the police had seized the gifts and more money was needed.
Luckily, a family member reported the scam and the customer realised the truth during a visit to a Nationwide branch. No further payments were made and the initial payment was refunded. Nationwide has warned its customers that scammers often try to move interactions away from dating apps and websites to private emails, phone calls and instant messaging, which are harder to track.