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Police and businesses highlight 'Romance Fraud' on Valentine's Day

Fri, 14 Feb 2020


Police and businesses are reminding the public not to fall victim to romance fraud this Valentine's Day.

 

Experts from HSBC and the Isle of Man Constabulary Cyber team will be available at HSBC Bank on Ridgeway Street, Douglas branch between 11am - 2pm to offer free advice on romance fraud.

 

Romance fraud is when someone creates a fake identity - a ‘catfish’ - to enter into a relationship with a victim with the intent to steal either funds or personal information.

 

According to HSBC’s Fraud Team, in the first six months of 2018, over 34,000 people were scammed out of £145.4m due to financial fraud, including romance fraud.

 

Romance scam cases rose by 64% in the first half of 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier. 

 

In total, £7.9m was lost to 935 people between January and June 2019, with only £500,000 of that returned to victims.

 

As part of the Get Safe Online campaign, a joint initiative, HSBC is raising awareness around this growing area of fraud, recommending key pieces of advice, promoting across its website and social media platforms this month.

 

Tristen Bell, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC in the Isle of Man, said: 'Figures show that romance fraud is on the rise, particularly in the digital age, and it’s essential that you report your experience if you feel you may have fallen victim. 

 

'Romance fraud is emotionally damaging and can result in serious identity theft and financial loss, so we hope that this initiative helps islanders stay safe this Valentine’s Day.”

 

Cyber Inspector Gavin Callow from the Isle of Man Constabulary added: 'In this new era of on-line dating, scammers will take every opportunity to trick you into a romance scam. Fraudsters will often hide behind their computer screen and once both parties have gained each other’s trust, a clever and convincing story will evolve in an effort to convince you to part with funds.

 

'There is very often an untrue story behind their claim. The friendship and romance is false but the money you lose is very real. Please help thwart fraudsters, be aware of such fraudulent activity and Get Safe Online.'

 

The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance currently running a campaign to raise awareness around ‘Romance Fraud’ and provide advice and things to look out for to ensure that people aren’t tricked out of money.

 

For the full picture on how to #datesafe, visit www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/online-dating/.


 

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