Friday 8 February 2019

Finance Fridays – Romance scams

We were looking at claiming child benefit for last week's Finance Fridays. With St. Valentine's Day looming next Thursday this week we are talking about romance scams. The last decade has seen the popularity of online dating rise and rise but of course not everyone on the internet is who they say they are. Not only are the victims subject to the financial loss but also devastating personal loss when they realise that the person they have fallen in love was only trying to scam them. Here are some of the things to look out for.

Long distance jobs – If they say they are in the military, working abroad or travelling a lot this can explain why they are not about all the time. Usually they have a other family elsewhere they are trying to share with you. It also then gives an excuse for them to ask you to help you out with money. This could be sending them some abroad because they say they have difficulty in accessing money abroad or asking you to directly pay for things in the UK.

Family abroad
– Needing to send money for a reason is a common scam. One way to do this is to pull on the heartstrings and say it is for a family member abroad who is in trouble or needs to pay medical bills.

Reluctance to meet – Sometimes romance scams aren't forged on dating sites but other online forums. They can tap into a shared interest so you always have something to talk about. Once they had befriended you they will want to make the relationship more private and start messaging you by other means. However they won't want to meet up because they aren't who they say they are.

Lots of questions about you – It may seem natural that someone who wants to get to know you better asks lots of questions about you. What you must look out for is when they ask lots of personal questions about your job and financial situation. Often they will reveal very little about themselves as it will be a lie.

Doesn't add up – Sometimes it's hard for a fraudster to keep track of all their lies. They might say that all their grandparents are dead but then later say they need money to go their grandmother's funeral abroad.

Remember in order to build up trust these fraudsters can take weeks and months before they starting asking you for you for money or to them a favour.

Have you ever been caught out through an online relationship?

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Finance Fridays

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