Which one? Calls for greater protection against victims of “romance scams” due to a surge in incidents during a pandemic where virtual dating has become the norm.
According to an analysis of action fraud data by consumer champions, romance scams increased by 40% in the year to April 2021 and more than 7,500 scams were reported.
Reported losses reached £ 73.9m during this period, but actual numbers could be much higher as many victims are too embarrassed or upset to tell authorities. There is.
Romance scams involve scammers who prey on victims’ emotional vulnerabilities and build trust with them before demanding money. Scammers often argue that they need money to travel to the UK to build a life together.
Real life story
Andrew (not his real name) was exchanging messages with potential love interests on the dating site Older Dating Online in November 2019. After a few weeks of email and phone, it was planned to meet for the first time.
The woman was probably based in Russia, so she demanded £ 650 to get her passport. Following this, there were even more requests. £ 3,000 to prove to Russian authorities that they have enough cash to visit the UK and enough money to cover the medical costs of the father who had Covid-19.
Andrew said: “I became suspicious and contacted the bank to report the scam, but couldn’t recover the money. I haven’t been dating at all since the scam. I’m confident in the field. The more traditional method was impossible because Covid-19, not the person, had an ugly head. I didn’t report what happened on the website, probably at the time. The reason I guessed was not because of their existence, but because of their acceptance. “
Often, scammers can be organized criminal gangs trying to pull people away from hard-earned cash.
65-year-old David (not his real name) was also fooled from nearly £ 4,000 after meeting someone on Twitter. The scammer pretended to be a young woman, but David later discovered that he was sending a message to a man in Nigeria. David considered the money he sent to pay for air tickets and visas for her to live in the UK, marry him and settle as a family. Since then, Twitter has permanently suspended the fraudster’s profile.
How to stay safe while dating online
When dating online, consumers should always pay attention to scammers who use stolen photos, even on video calls.
To see if a photo is fake, consumers can do a reverse image search using TinEye or Google Image Search. It tracks where this photo is located elsewhere on the internet to see if it could be a stocked or stolen image.
Both findings raise serious questions about the legal liability of online platforms and sites to protect users from fake fraudulent content and potential fraud.
Bank transfer fraud
The conditional redemption model code, which came into effect in May 2019 and was signed by the majority of banks, Bank transfer fraud When they are not negligent, they should be reimbursed for their loss.
Victims, such as Andrew, who are confident of sending funds to a non-UK account are not eligible for the code. Only transfers between UK accounts can benefit from the limited protection provided by the code. With this code, 38% of all losses were returned to victims of romance scams in 2020, up from 6% in the six months before the code was introduced.
But which is it? I am concerned that banks are not applying the code consistently. Some companies offer refunds to the majority of victims of approved push payment scams, while others only refund 1 in 10 people. This means that many victims face the lottery when it comes to getting their money back.
Customers in need of help in trying to recover their losses are often in dire straits over bank behavior, exacerbating the devastating emotional consequences of trials.
Adam French, which one? Consumer rights experts said:
“If necessary, banks and payment providers must follow the code they sign up and use advanced psychological tactics to reimburse victims of fraud that tricks victims into giving them cash. Those who are struggling to get their money back should report this to the Financial Ombuzman Service to confirm the case.
“The voluntary code for fraud has led to a refund lottery for victims, which should be replaced by mandatory standards for protection and reimbursement, and strong enforcement for businesses that do not comply with the rules.”
Broken heart when dating scams soar due to blockade
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