Lose your heart not your money this Valentine’s Day

Lose your heart not your money this Valentine’s Day

Fraudsters are masquerading as lonely hearts to target vulnerable victims, according to analysis by KPMG.

Also on KPMG.com

Fraudsters are masquerading as lonely hearts to target vulnerable victims, according to analysis by KPMG.  The KPMG Fraud Barometer found fraudsters are using dating sites to find victims and posing as lonely hearts to identify vulnerable targets.  Members of the public lost a total of £3.2m from dating scams alone in 2015.*

The research comes ahead of Valentine’s Day, when dating sites traditionally see a boost in the numbers of people looking online for love.

In one case a lonely hearts fraudster used multiple dating sites to find potential victims, and conned five women out of £180,000, using the money to fund his extravagant lifestyle.

James Maycock, Forensic Director at KPMG, said: “Fraudsters are posing as lonely hearts with the sole intention of seeking out the trusting and vulnerable and taking advantage of their good nature.  By manipulating this technology they target multiple victims at the same time, while keeping costs and overheads low.

“While operators of sites need to do what they can to protect users, individuals also need to keep their details safe and never part with money or financial information to these would be Lotharios.

We have seen numerous innocent people looking for love lose their life savings.  However, these criminals rob their victims of far more than just money, destroying their confidence and trust in others.

”While these fraudsters can be highly convincing and persistent, individuals can help to protect themselves against ‘romance fraud’ by taking the following precautions:

  • Be careful with personal data;
  • Be wary of people who claim to be overseas or unable to meet or even speak by video, and only want to chat by e-mail;
  • Never give any money, and if pressured to do so, alarm bells should be ringing.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

*KPMG’s Fraud Barometer measures fraud cases with losses of £100,000 or more reaching the UK courts.

For press enquiries please contact:

Zoe Sheppard, Senior PR Manager at KPMG

T: +44 (0)117 905 4337

E: zoe.sheppard@kpmg.co.uk

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. 

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