Nationwide Building Society has issued another warning after one of its customers lost £7,000 to a “convincing” romance scam.
The number of male victims caught in a romance scams increased by 40 per cent between 2022 and 2023, according to the building society’s customer data.
At the same time, women were found to likely to lose more to love scams, with an average loss of £10,610 versus £8,181 for men in 2023.
Some 20 per cent of romance scam cases reported by men in 2023 involved victims aged between 20m to 30 years old with Nationwide urging customers to use their Scam Checker Service to protect payments.
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The customer was contacted by their new romantic partner over WhatsApp messages
The building society shared the story of a customer who started a new relationship with someone they had met on TikTok after their marriage broke up.
Their new online partner messaged the customer every other day through WhatsApp but they never spoke over the phone.
They claimed to be serving in the US military and said they had sent expensive presents to the Nationwide customer.
However, the customer was told the gifts were stopped on route and would be held until the necessary taxes and fees were paid.
To get their gifts, the building society’s customer spent £7,000 but the so-called “courier” delivering the packages contacted them and claimed the police has seized them.
The customer was then informed by a scammer that further payments needed to be made for the presents to be delivered.
A family member reported the scam but the Nationwide customer did not want to accept that they had been defrauded.
After visiting one of the building society’s branches, they were educated about these types of scams and what to look out for.
The building society is urging customers to take action if they have been impact by scams
Eventually, the customer realised they had been scammed and made no further payments. Thankfully, the initial £7,000 sum was refunded to the heartbroken victim.
Jim Winters, Nationwide’s Director of Economic Crime, explained: “Criminals can be very convincing and persuasive enough to get someone looking for love or feeling lonely to give them their trust, personal details and ultimately their money, even when they haven’t actually met each other in person.
“Our data shows all ages can be a target of romance scams as criminals will cast their net far and wide to stand the best chance of snaring a victim. This is why everyone looking for love, regardless of age or gender, needs to protect their wallet as well as their hearts by looking out for any red flags.
“Be curious, ask questions and involve family and friends who have your best interests at heart. Education is the biggest deterrent to scams.”