Cybersecurity Expert Insight On Romance Scams This Valentine’s Day

Romance scams are one of the UK’s top 5 most successful types of fraud, according to research from Feedzai, the financial crime solution specialist. With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, Cybersecurity experts provide an insight on what’s the best strategy to overcome such scams.

Experts Comments

February 11, 2021
Carl Wearn
Head of E-Crime
Mimecast

With so many people stuck at home during lockdown, it is not surprising to see a rise in romance fraud during this time. It is particularly important to understand that single people may feel very lonely during this difficult time, especially if they are living alone. This loneliness can leave individual’s particularly vulnerable to the predation of criminals who specialise in dating and website related fraud. I would urge caution on anyone who is conducting an internet-based relationship,

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With so many people stuck at home during lockdown, it is not surprising to see a rise in romance fraud during this time. It is particularly important to understand that single people may feel very lonely during this difficult time, especially if they are living alone. This loneliness can leave individual’s particularly vulnerable to the predation of criminals who specialise in dating and website related fraud. I would urge caution on anyone who is conducting an internet-based relationship, with a view to trying to prevent people from becoming victims of criminal activity. Common ploys are to use false personas of individuals you might automatically and naturally feel trust or admiration for, including members of the armed forces or emergency services. In this way, they seek to play on sentiment and disarm you to gain your trust as rapidly as is possible.

 

It is also important to understand the cybersecurity implications that online dating can have for businesses. The lockdown has led to more employees working remotely on company-issued devices than ever before. And because the home provides more privacy than an office, many employees are using their devices for more than just work, with almost one in 10 Brits looking for love on a professional device. This has the potential to negatively impact an organisation’s cybersecurity strategy, as any use of personal account log-ins on a work device will increase the potential for compromise of both the employee, and their employer’s network. To tackle this issue, companies should offer cybersecurity awareness and cyber hygiene training regularly to their entire workforce. This will help normalise the idea that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and that everyone has a role to play in keeping threats at bay – a challenge that will continue to grow as businesses adopt new ways of working to suit their staff post-COVID.

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February 11, 2021
Andy Renshaw
VP of Payments Strategy & Solutions
Feedzai

Romance scams are much more widespread type of fraud that we'd like to think. The US's Federal Trade Commission reported a 40% increase in money lost to romance scams in 2019, and  Feedzai has found that, in the UK, romance scams are among the top five most successful types of fraud.  For this reason, it is certainly encouraging to see institutions such as Action Fraud doing their part in raising awareness.

 

But it's important to realise that when it comes to matters of the heart, this type of

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Romance scams are much more widespread type of fraud that we'd like to think. The US's Federal Trade Commission reported a 40% increase in money lost to romance scams in 2019, and  Feedzai has found that, in the UK, romance scams are among the top five most successful types of fraud.  For this reason, it is certainly encouraging to see institutions such as Action Fraud doing their part in raising awareness.

 

But it's important to realise that when it comes to matters of the heart, this type of fraud is very difficult to stop, and raising awareness might not be enough. Banks might try to warn their customers that sending money to the person they've "fallen in love with" is a risky transaction, but ultimately it is up to the person to choose whether they wish the transfer to proceed. In these instances, Machine Learning can be useful to help banks to provide their customers the full picture: what if your bank could tell you that this person who is desperately seeking £1500 from you has also collected the same amount from 5 other people that same week? This context could be crucial to someone who has been blinded by love. It is here, where AI in banking to detect fraud can make a real difference.

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