Lloyds Bank has released its latest data on romance scams and it shows that the number of people falling victim to these scams has increased by 22% in 2023 compared to the previous year.
The average amount lost to these scams was GBP 6,937, which is lower than the previous year’s average loss of GBP 8,237.
The romance scam stages
Romance scams are a very personal type of scam, where fraudsters target people looking for love. They often use fake photos and information on social media and online dating apps to lure in potential victims. The process can last for long periods, as the fraudster has to build a trusting relationship with their victim.
However, scammers usually have numerous excuses for why they can’t meet in person or show their faces on video calls. In the end, they ask for money, usually claiming family issues, medical bills or needing money to arrange travel to meet up with the victim. The amount of money scammers ask for may start small but can build up over time.
As the report shows, men were slightly more likely to fall victim to romance scams in 2023, making up 52% of cases. On the other hand, women who do fall victim tend to report higher losses than men, with an average of GBP 9,083 compared to GBP 5,145 lost by men. Amongst those who fell victim, people aged between 55 and 64 were most likely to be tricked by fraudsters masquerading as love interests, as the number of cases amongst this age group rose by almost 49% compared to 2022. However, it is those aged between 65 and 74 who lose the most money, with an average of GBP 13,123, which is the highest amount of any age group.
Lloyds Banking Group invests tens of millions of GPP every year in the latest technology to protect its customers from fraud. Addressing this issue, the bank’s officials said that targeting those looking for love is a common way for fraudsters to cash in. Scammers can be incredibly convincing and leave their victims both emotionally and financially drained. On this, social media and online dating apps have a major contribution because due to fake profiles, it can be hard to tell who is genuine and who is not. Lloyds Bank also explains that a good relationship doesn’t start by sending money to an unknown person and that as soon as this happens, the person involved should step back from the situation.