Increased risk of romance fraud around Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the public are being warned to beware of romance fraud, which increases around this time of year.

Mark Dowie
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 8:23am
Increased risk of romance fraud around Valentine's Day

With pandemic restrictions being lowered or removed entirely, many expect this Valentine's Day to see a surge of star-crossed lovers seeking to make a connection compared to last February, when the country was still under lockdown.

Despite the restricted circumstances, romance scam incident reports in the UK still increased by 40 per cent last year, with £73.9m lost during that period.

And experts expect this trend to continue in 2022.

Every year, scammers try various methods to get at other people’s money.

And there are many ways that fraudsters try and use loneliness or the promise of relationships or friendship to steal from unsuspecting members of the public.

They r egularly involve some form of 'catfishing' - the act of luring someone into a relationship by constructing a fictional online persona.

Experts also advise the public to be wary of phoney websites offering fake romantic getaways and Valentine's pop-up shop websites that do not honour purchases.

Always be suspicious when contacted out of the blue, whether through social media, messengers or a dating app or website.

Always verify who someone is, and do not keep it a secret.

Try to talk to someone else about a potential romantic match and get an independent view.

Never allow the contact to isolate you or stop communication with family and friends.

There are also opportunistic websites offering romantic getaways that might not be what they claim to be, or pop-up Valentine's shops selling gifts that are either not honoured after purchase or exhibit some form of mis-selling.

While an unbelievable bargain might be tempting, unfortunately it is often just that - not to be believed.

For consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. To report scams, contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 800 9060 and in the event of a crime being committed, call Police Scotland’s non-e mergenc y number 1 0 1 .

This website and its associated newspaper are members of Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
© 2023 National World Publishing Ltd.