Cifas warns singletons to be aware of romance scams on Valentine
14 February 2020
- Cifas warns people to be cautious when using dating sites
- People aged 40-60 looking for romance are increasingly being targeted by fraudsters
Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is warning people looking for love on Valentine’s Day not to fall victim to romance scams.
Romance fraud often takes place through dating sites or on social media, and involves criminals gaining the affection and trust of their victims in order to extort money or personal information that can be used to commit fraud.
More recently, information received from Cifas members has indicated that there has been a rise in romance fraud with those aged 40-60 increasingly being targeted. Fraudsters are reportedly building a rapport with their victims and asking them to accept deposits into their bank accounts – usually claiming to be out of the country and needing access to a UK bank account. They are then instruct to forward the money to another account - often for a small cash ‘reward’ - without them realising that the original loan had been taken out in their name.
Criminals are also targeting younger individuals by offering them a credit card with which they can buy a gift, often being told that it is a second credit card and that any outstanding monies will be paid on their behalf. Instead, the fraudster takes out a credit card in the victim’s name at their current address, and when the card is received the victim is asked to photograph both sides of the card so that the card can be activated. Members have also seen an increase in ‘sextortion cases’ where victims are contacted via social media threatening to send videos and photos to family members unless funds are transferred to them.
Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘Romance scams are particularly devastating for victims as not only do they suffer a financial loss, but an emotional one too.
‘My advice is to remember not to give away too many personal details when dating online – just providing your date of birth and home address is enough for someone to steal your identity. Also never send or receive money, or give your bank details to anyone you’ve just met on the internet – no matter how convincing their story is.
‘Criminals lower their victim’s defences by building an online relationship with them. Be wary of anyone you meet online, and don’t let fraudster break your heart and your bank balance this Valentine’s Day.’
For more information contact:
Head of Communications, Cifas
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654
Notes to editors
Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2018, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.4 billion of fraud losses.
Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud. Cifas also offers Protective Registration for individuals whose identities are at risk of being used fraudulently. We also run a scheme called Protecting the Vulnerable, offered free of charge to local authorities to protect those under the care of Court Deputies who are unable to access financial products and whose identities may be at risk.
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