Fraudsters take advantage of single people on Valentine’s Day

KPMG research has revealed that fraudsters use Valentine’s Day to con single people out of cash on dating sites

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The Independent Online

Valentine’s Day is never a good day to be single. But research shows that criminals are making it even worse.

KPMG research has revealed that fraudsters use Valentine’s Day to con single people out of cash on dating sites. 

James Maycock, forensic director at KPMG, said that fraudsters are posing as potential matches 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,” Maycock said.

Members of the public lost a total of £3.2 million from dating scams alone in 2015, according to the KPMG fraud barometer, which measures fraud cases with losses of £100,000 or above.

One fraudster conned five women out of £180,000 - and used the money to fund an “extravagant lifestyle”, the analysis shows.

Maycock said Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for “romance fraud” as scammers take advantage of lonely people’s good nature.

He urged dating sites operators to do what they can to protect their users, but also warned people to be vigilant and never share their financial information online.

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

He suggest people should take these precaution to protect their data online: 

-              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 be alarmed if pressured to do so.

IBM expert Martin Borrett, IBM distinguished engineer and CTO at IBM security Europe, shared five ways to limit your exposure online with the Independent.

He said it is better to use complex passwords, never click on emails or attachments you do not recognise, avoid clicking on pop-up windows, check URLs and install a piece anti-virus software.