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.
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.