Romance scam reports have soared during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Which?
The consumer group’s analysis of Action Fraud data found romance fraud reports were up by 40% in the year to April 2021, compared with the previous year, with more than 7,500 reported scams.
Reported losses reached £73.9 million during the period – but the true figure is likely to be much higher as many victims are too embarrassed or upset to tell the authorities.
Warning signs of an online dating scam include people making excuses for why they cannot meet up in person, making over-the-top declarations of love when they hardly know the person they are communicating with, and inventing a sob story for why they urgently need money.
Fraudsters often claim they need the money to travel to the UK so they can “build a life” with the victim.
In one case highlighted by Which?, a man was exchanging messages in 2019 with a potential love interest on Older Dating Online…