Barclays issues warning as over 50s targeted by vicious scam
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New data from the bank has shown the amount of money lost to romance scams has increased by 60 percent in the last quarter. Romance scams involve a person expressing interest in a romantic relationship, all with the intention of manipulating another individual into sending them money.
Barclays found victims of romance scams lose on average £4,090 – which could be devastating.
People aged 51 to 60 were discovered to be the most susceptible, with this age group accounting for over a third of all money lost to romance scams.
As a result, the bank has urged people to remain vigilant when using online dating apps, and always be on the lookout for scams.
Barclays has shared a list of tell-tale signs which could alert Britons to the fact they are being targeted by a scam online.
Firstly, when it comes to dating apps, people should always look at the profile photo.
If a profile only has one or no photos at all, this can be a red flag, but so too are glamorous photos showing off a seemingly expensive and luxury lifestyle.
If possible, it is worth conducting a ‘reverse image search’ to see whether these photos have been lifted from somewhere else.
Quick replies should also raise alarm bells for people who are on dating apps.
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Barclays explained: “If someone is replying within seconds of you sending them a message, you might be speaking to a ‘spam bot’ that is trying to lure you in and lead you to another website.”
Fast declarations of love can be gratifying, but may not always be what they seem.
While people can be flattered, scammers could be playing on a person’s emotions by professing love in the hopes of manipulating their victim.
A refusal to meet in person is also a fairly sure-fire sign a scam is taking place, particularly if frequent excuses are provided as to why the individual cannot meet up.
Finally, what is perhaps the biggest red flag on a dating app or website is a request for money.
Whether the reason is for a perceived emergency or an investment opportunity, scammers are frequently devising the best tactics to convince people to part with their cash.
Consequently, Barclays states individuals should always question why a person may be asking them for funds.
To be additionally sure, it is always worth looking for a second opinion, whether this be a friend or family member.
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Ross Martin, Head of Digital Safety at Barclays, said: “Dating apps can be a great way to meet people, but it’s important to remember that not everyone you speak to will have the best of intentions.
“Scammers can use dating apps and social media sites to manipulate you into sending them money.
“You should never feel pressured into doing this.
“If something sounds suspicious or doesn’t feel right, stop engaging with the profile and speak to someone you trust for a second opinion.”
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