Lloyds Bank warns of worrying rise in cruel scam which could drain your bank account

Lloyds Bank sign outside branch

Lloyds Bank has warned there has been a rise in romance scams

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 02/02/2024

- 11:24

Lloyds Bank said this type of scam can span a long period of time

Lloyds Bank has warned of a rise in the number of romance scams, costing victims thousands of pounds and causing crushing heartbreak.

The number of people who fell victim to romance scams increased by a fifth (22 per cent) last year, compared to 2022, the bank said.

Overall, the average amount lost to this type of scam was £6,937, less than the £8,237 in 2022.

Romance scams are a cruel and very personal type of fraud, where criminals use fake photos and information to build an identity online, and then target those looking for love.

Person looks worried while holding bank card

The average amount lost to this type of scam was £6,937 in 2023


They may appear on social media or pop up on dating apps, and they often carry out the scam over long periods.

The criminals tend to build a trusting relationship with the victim and tend to have numerous, which can become increasingly implausible, excuses as to why they can’t meet in person or reveal their face on video calls.

Excuses sometimes include working away in the armed forces or in international aid and charity work.

The romance scammers will go on to ask for money, potentially starting with a small amount before building up over time.

They may claim they need the cash for family issues, medical bills, or to arrange travel to meet up with the victim.

Liz Ziegler, Fraud Prevention Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Targeting those looking for love is a cruel, but sadly common, way for fraudsters to cash in.

“Scammers can be incredibly convincing and leave their victims both emotionally and financially drained.

“Social media and online dating apps are rife with fake profiles, and it can be hard to tell who is genuine. Remember that no good relationship starts off by sending money to someone you haven't met and this should be a big red flag.

“As soon as someone you’re talking to starts asking for money, step back from the situation and never hand anything over. Talking to a real-life friend or family member can be a good way to sense check what’s going on.”

Last year, men were slightly more likely to fall for a romance scam, making up 52 per cent of cases, according to Lloyds Bank research.

However, women would typically report higher losses, losing an average £9,083, compared to an average £5,145 lost by men.

Men and women aged between 55 and 64 were most likely to be duped by romance scammers, as the number of cases amongst this age group increased by nearly 49 per cent compared to 2022.

However, people aged between 65 and 74 lost the most money, giving the fraudsters an average of £13,123.

You may like