‘Too good to be true?’ Nationwide warns customers of a convincing scam | Personal finance | Finance

The building society warns that around three in 10 people in the UK who feel lonely are at risk of falling victim to romance scams. This particular type of fraud involves people forming relationships online which never leads them to meet their partner, in which they are cheated out of their hard earned money. Due to the pandemic and social distancing, more and more people are being branded by romance scammers, according to Nationwide.

Specifically, young people have become increasingly isolated and lonely over the past two years, leading them to turn to online dating, which puts them at greater risk.

In a survey recently published by the Building Society, it was revealed that four out of ten people between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that their mental state makes them vulnerable to this type of scam.

Some 25% of young people surveyed by Nationwide, who experienced loneliness or social isolation at least once a week, had been the target of a scam.

By comparison, the UK average is 21%. Of those who admitted to being victims, eight percent said it was a romance scam.

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Following this, Nationwide launched a Scam Checker service, which is available to customers over the phone or at their local branch.

Ed Fisher, head of fraud policy at the Nationwide Building Society, explained how these romance scams work and how customers can avoid falling victim to fraudsters in the future.

Mr Fisher explained: “Loneliness is often invisible and not only felt by the elderly or those who may have lost a loved one.

“In fact, our research shows that young people can be even more sensitive to these feelings.

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“While building human connection is essential, especially when feelings of isolation are involved, there is unfortunately a minority of people who will benefit.

“People should be aware of the telltale signs of a romance scam and be prepared to walk away if necessary.

“Criminals can be very persuasive 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 met in person. .

“People looking for love should protect their wallets as well as their hearts by watching for warning signs, doing their own background checks, and talking about their relationships with other friends and family members. , who have their best interests at heart.”

Matt Bradford, the City of London Police Acting Detective Chief Superintendent, shared what he witnessed in the reports of this particular scam case.

He added: “Typically, romance scammers spend weeks gaining their victims’ trust, giving them fabricated stories about who they are and their lives – and initially suggest no desire to ask for money, so the victim can believe their new love interest is genuine.

“But weeks or even months later these criminals will ask for money for various emotional reasons and because the emotional relationship is already formed, victims often transfer money without a second thought.

“We are calling on family members who think their loved ones may be dating online to help them be aware of the warning signs that they could be the victim of fraud, particularly if the person dating online is not not particularly good at technology.”

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