Scams are rife, and can sadly happen everywhere, but criminals will be looking to prey on vulnerabilities. This is a reason why romance scams can often be common, where a person is led into a false sense of security by someone they believe they can trust.
Barclays shared the story of Fatima, a woman who was targeted via a dating app, by a man claiming to be called Jack.
Once the pair hit it off, Fatima was excited when Jack asked her if they could move away from the dating app.
His suggestion of using a messaging app instead didn’t worry Fatima, particularly as they had messaged for months.
As their conversations progressed, Fatima asked on numerous occasions to meet Jack in person.
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When she told Jack she could no longer afford to help, he stopped replying to her messages and she never heard from him again.
Sadly, Jack didn’t really exist and instead was a persona devised by a money-hungry scammer.
The scammer had used an online relationship as a ruse to build trust with Fatima, and there was no business deal.
Instead, Fatima was transferring the money to fraudsters without her knowledge – who made off with her savings.
Scammers often claim they need urgent help with a deal, or with medical bills in an effort to play on a person’s emotions and get them to transfer money quickly.
Like this scammer, fraudsters can often tell their victims they must inform the bank a transfer is to a friend – as this can bypass bank fraud security checks.
Many scammers also choose to move away from dating apps, just in case the app becomes wise to their scam.
MoneyHelper also warned: “One of the scenarios that romance scammers often use is that they’re stuck abroad on a business trip and don’t have access to their bank accounts.”
Barclays stresses people should never send money to someone they haven’t met in real life.
It is also vital to stay alert to the warning signs of a scam taking place, so one can exit the situation without financial loss.
Those who believe they might have been scammed are urged to cease all contact with a scammer, contact their bank as soon as possible, and reach out to Action Fraud.