Online Romance Fraud Costs UK Victims £63 Million in 2020

Written by Luke Smith

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, estimates that romance fraud has cost UK victims in the region of £63 million over the past year.

The number of reported cases has grown by approximately 800 compared to 2019. However, it’s believed that the number is much higher, as two-thirds of victims are too embarrassed to seek help.

Alex Rothwell, interim Detective Chief Superintendent, City of London Police, told Sky News: “Scammers typically assume a persona of strength and dependability – so they’ll say that they are things like a doctor, or in the military serving overseas.

“And of course in this past year, where the pandemic has made it genuinely harder to meet people in person, that may have been exploited by scammers to manipulate victims, who are more isolated, vulnerable and spending more time online.”

Online romance fraud can includes catfishing, where a scammers use a fake profile to woo a victim before asking them for money.

A Tinder spokesperson said that the company is “saddened” when it hears about cases of romance fraud, and encourages users to be wary of any profile that doesn’t have a verified tick.

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