According to research from security firm Tessian, Romance fraud, the act of approaching unsuspecting people looking for love on dating websites or apps with the aim of tricking them out of either money or enough personal information to steal their identity, has risen significantly while the UK has been in lockdown.
The survey found that 11% of men have fallen victim to romance scams online, compared to 5% of women. Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram were popular launchpads for the fraud, with 24% of the 2,000 respondents saying they’d been scammed after being approached through the social media platforms.
The national lockdowns, and other restrictions on our social lives, implemented because of the coronavirus outbreak, have meant more people have been seeking companionship online and this has undoubtedly contributed to the increase in the numbers of people being scammed.
In certain more serious instances of this type of fraud, scammers make recordings of unsuspecting people online, often by pretending to be genuinely searching for a relationship, and then the scammers blackmail the person by threatening to share the recordings with all their friends, family and contacts.
This can be a very distressing type of blackmail often because it involves such personal and sensitive information. Victims of this type of fraud are advised to contact us because with the right approach, social media firms can be forced to shut down the scammers access to victims friends and family (or contacts list) and thereby prevented from going through with their threats.