With Valentine’s Day approaching, national older person’s charity Independent Age is warning older people to be on the lookout for romance scams. The charity recently launched a partnership with Nationwide Building Society to provide additional support to members over 65 who have fallen victim to a scam. As part of the partnership, Nationwide members who have been targeted by a scam are directed to Independent Age for emotional support and advice.
Latest figures show that across 29 referrals, almost a third of these were as a result of romance scams. Nationwide’s own data also shows that in 2022, those aged 65 or over accounted for 26% of all romance scams reported.
Fran McSweeney, Head of National Services at Independent Age, said:
“Dating or romance scams are cruel and can be very emotional. Often they take time and the scammer has built up a relationship with the person, so it’s devastating when the deception is discovered.
“We want to ensure older people know how to protect themselves from heartless scams. We also want people to know that if they have been scammed, it’s not their fault and support is out there.”
How to protect yourself from a romance scam
Dating or romance fraud is where scammers form a relationship with you using a fake profile. They then ask you for money to help them out, or for personal details to commit identity theft.
Be wary of someone who:
- asks a lot of questions but doesn’t reveal much about themselves
- rushes to steer you away from the site where you met, and communicate by email, text or phone instead
- is very emotional, or tells you a hard luck story before asking you to send them money
- doesn’t want to video call or meet in person
- asks you to keep the relationship secret
If you haven’t ever met in person, it’s important that you don’t:
- send them any money
- give them access to your bank account
- take out a loan for them
- give them a copy of your passport or driving licence
- buy them online gift cards
- take in or send any parcels for them.
Where to go for support
If you or an older person you know has been the victim of a scam, or you’re worried about a potential romance scam, you can call the Independent Age helpline on 0800 319 6789.
The charity also has a free Scamwise guide with more tips on avoiding a scam, and what to do if you think you have been scammed. The guide can also be ordered via the helpline.
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Notes to editor
For media enquiries please contact:
Amy Dodge, Media Communications Manager at Independent Age on email@example.com or 07732 691466.
More about the Independent Age and Nationwide partnership: Nationwide partners with independent age to give additional support to older scam victims | Independent Age