17 Oct 2018
Scots looking for love are at risk of losing thousands of pounds to ‘rom-cons’, according to new research from Barclays. The data revealed that one in three romance scams (37%) in the UK results in losses of more than £5,000, more than eight-times Scotland’s average monthly rent. Almost two-thirds of cases in the UK (57%) result in losses of at least £2,000.
Barclays is issuing a new warning against the dangers of romance scams, which occur when someone is convinced to make a payment to a person they have met online and believe they are in a relationship with, to help individuals better protect themselves when online dating.
The Barclays data shows it’s those aged 45-64 throughout the UK who are leaving themselves most vulnerable to the work of scammers. Only 45% undertake basic checks to ensure the dating sites they are using are reputable, while only 42% will not meet a potential partner in person until feeling confident they are trustworthy. Because of this, these ‘Baby-boomers’ now represent more than half (55%) of all reported instances of romance scams in the UK.
But it’s not just Baby-boomers who need to take greater care when looking for love. Two fifths of Scottish daters (41%) admit they would trust someone after speaking through a dating site for just two weeks, even prior to meeting them. Interestingly, men in the UK are likely to trust a potential partner much sooner with more than half (53%) saying that they would trust someone up to two weeks after they start talking, compared to a third of women (33%).
One in three (32%) Scots who have used a dating site within the last five years believe the best way to judge a potential partner’s trustworthiness is through what they say in texts and emails.
To help Scots become more aware of how to stay safe when using online dating sites, Barclays has identified the top five behaviours likely to put individuals at greater risk:
Jodie Gilbert, Barclays Head of Digital Safety, said: “Whilst millions of us take to dating websites and apps to find true love, criminals are getting ready to pounce on anyone who lets their guard down. We must all remain aware whilst looking for the warning signs, such as someone asking you to help them out of an ‘unfortunate situation’ by sending money.”
Barclays’ top tips for preventing romance scams
For more details on how to stay safe, visit www.barclays.co.uk/security
Barclays backs Take Five to Stop Fraud – a national campaign from UK Finance and Government offering straight-forward advice to help everyone prevent financial fraud.
 Countrywide, 2018