According to new data from Action Fraud, UK individuals were victims to 8957 dating scams between 1st Jan 2021 to 1st Jan 2022, which collectively cost them over £96.8 million pounds.
This is a major rise on the previous year, with the data showing that there were only 644 reports of dating scams between 1st Jan 2020 to 1st Jan 2021, which cost their victims over £5.4 million.
These figures show that dating scams are becoming the attack of choice for fraudsters today, and that UK consumers must be vigilant for them this coming Valentine’s Day.
Dating scams typically involve a scammer tricking someone into a phony online romance. These fraudsters will target vulnerable people through dating sites, pretending to be legitimate users looking for love, while duping them into handing over money and other valuable items.
<p>Dating scams are rife today and these figures from Action Fraud show just how much money criminals are earning through them. These crimes are very easy to carry out as the web offers the perfect shield for scammers to hide behind computer screens, building out fictitious lives and fake personas, with the real aim of duping people into falling in love so they can extort money from them. </p>
<p>When it comes to protecting against scams, dating site users are advised to never give away sensitive or personal information to anyone they meet online until they know they can be trusted. If you are targeted with an online lover this Valentine’s Day who seems too good to be true, never send them any money because the chances are you are going to get hit by the arrow of a fraudster, rather than the arrow of cupid.</p>
<p>Businesses are also at serious risk this Valentine’s Day, with scammers using the holiday to launch counterfeit versions of successful products, in a bid to dupe customers into thinking they are purchasing something genuine. Fraudsters will sometimes take things even further by spoofing the domain of businesses, or setting up a new almost identical domain which is very difficult to identify as fake to the untrained eye. For instance, <a href=\"http://www.lovelythingsonline.com/\" data-saferedirecturl=\"https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.lovelythingsonline.com/&source=gmail&ust=1643816898944000&usg=AOvVaw18Is_6geHBDZM7VX2mT6EM\">www.lovelythingsonline.com</a> might be changed to <a href=\"http://www.lovelythingonline.com/\" data-saferedirecturl=\"https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.lovelythingonline.com/&source=gmail&ust=1643816898944000&usg=AOvVaw0kCKSsJmJTod2pcjb9CNXv\">www.lovelythingonline.com</a>. These illegitimate sites can easily trick customers into visiting them and purchasing goods. However, this often just amounts to them handing over the credit card information to fraudsters. </p>
<p>The problem of counterfeit goods and fake domains only grows in the run up to holidays, like Valentine’s Day, and businesses must take steps to fight back against them. Fake domains not only threaten a brand’s reputation, but they can also seriously harm customers through safety risks and by fraudsters stealing their financial information. Businesses are advised to work with partners that can carry out monitoring to detect illegitimate versions of their website online, as well as fake versions of their products, and work to get any found taken down immediately.</p>