Warning after huge jump in men being cheated on

Reports of men falling victim to sex scams have risen massively, new evidence suggests.

Male victims are set to rise by 40% between 2022 and 2023, according to Britain's biggest construction company.

Romantic cons can mean big payouts for scammers, so they can spend weeks – or even months – grooming their victim before asking for money.

In one case seen by Nationwide, a customer met someone through social media who claimed to serve in the United States military and also sent expensive gifts to the Nationwide customer.

The customer said these would be held until taxes and customs were paid.

The customer sent a payment of £7,000 but the courier who delivered the parcels contacted him and said the police had confiscated the gifts and further payments were required.

Fraud was reported by a family member.

Signs of romantic cheating

Here are some reminders from HSBC UK of warning signs to look out for when going online:

1. Rapid emotional attachment

While some scammers may take their time, others may try to improve their relationships too quickly online.

2. Avoid meeting face to face

Scammers often avoid personal interactions. Be careful if your online date constantly makes excuses or delays meeting in person.

3. Asking for money

Scammers may fabricate emergencies or hardships to manipulate your emotions. Don't send money to someone you've only met online.

4. You are encouraged to lie to your bank

A fraudster will often ask you to lie to your bank to give them a better chance that the payment will not raise suspicion. Scammers often instruct their victim on how to answer questions that may be asked. But telling the truth gives the bank the best chance of protecting your money – and you get money back if you end up falling victim scam.

5. Inconsistencies in what they tell you

Pay attention to the information shared. Scammers may use different personas on different victims, with conflicting details.

6. Denial of video chat

If your internet connection is constantly avoiding video interactions, it could be a red flag.

7. High pressure tactics

Scammers often use urgency or emotional manipulation to pressure victims into quick decisions. Take your time and remain skeptical of requests that seem overly urgent.

8. Unrealistic photos

Be wary if the person's photos online appear too glossy or too good to be true. Scammers often use stolen images from other profiles.

9. They ask you for a lot of personal information

It's natural for people starting a relationship to want to get to know each other better – but scammers will be after your information in addition to your money. Avoid sharing sensitive information, such as your address or financial information, with someone you've only met online.

10. You feel trapped in romance

Stay alert, trust your gut and verify information to protect yourself from falling victim romance scams. You could also listen to friends and family members to get a second opinion from people you trust.

Nationwide, which analyzed its own data, said there was a slight 2% drop in fraud involving female victims.

One in five (20%) cases of romance fraud reported to Nationwide Building Society by men in 2023 involved victims aged 20 to 30.

According to the Nationwide figures, women are more likely to lose more than men, with the 2023 average for women coming in at £10,610, compared to an average of £8,181 for men.

The society encourages customers who are worried about a payment to use their fraud check service before any money is parted with.

If the payment goes ahead and the customer is then defrauded, unless Nationwide tells the customer not to go ahead, it will be refunded in full.

Jim Winters, Nationwide's director of financial crime, said: “Criminals can be very persuasive and persuasive enough to get someone looking for love or feeling lonely to give them their trust, their personal details and ultimately their money , even when they haven't actually met. each other in person.

“Our data shows that all ages can be targeted by sex scams, as criminals will cast their net everywhere to have the best chance of snaring a victim.”

Nationwide warned that fraudsters will try to take interactions away from dating apps and sites. They may encourage people to use private emails, phone calls and instant messages, which cannot be easily monitored.