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HomeFinancial FraudCatfish romance scam losses up 150% in 2022 - Nationwide

Catfish romance scam losses up 150% in 2022 – Nationwide

The average amount scammers took from lovestruck victims increased 150% in 2022, to £11,796, according to Nationwide.

Losses from romance scams skyrocketed 150% in 2022, according to new research from the Nationwide Building Society.

Scammers took £11,796 on average from lovestruck victims, up from £4,720 in 2021, mostly through requests for money through online dating apps.

In total, £91.4mln was stolen in 8,036 UK scams City of London Police data indicated, while losses in the US were even higher at £249mln, said the Federal Trade Commission.

Reported cases were down 17% as awareness grows, Nationwide added, with victim’s ages varying from as low as 14 to 94 with an equal split of men and women.

Nationwide economic crime director Jim Winters commented: “It’s worrying to see average amounts on the rise as criminals double down on their victims.

“They can be very convincing in getting someone looking for love or feeling lonely to give them their trust, personal details and ultimately their money.”

Online dating platforms Tinder and Hinge have moved to tackle scams on their sites this month, both issuing advice to users on how to spot and not succumb to fraud.

“Romance fraudsters will spend weeks gaining their victims’ trust, feeding them fabricated stories about who they are and their lives […] so the victim may believe their new love interest is genuine,” explained City of London Police’s Matt Bradford.

“But weeks, or sometimes months later, these criminals will ask for money for a variety of emotive reasons” after the relationship has already formed, making it difficult for victims to say no.


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