The number of people falling for romance scams has risen by 16 percent in the past year, according to the bank. Research carried out by Lloyds found that the average amount lost per victim is now £8,655, which is an increase from previous year. Romance scams involve fraudsters impersonating someone online and convincing their victim that they are in a relationship with one another.
This often results in the victim sharing their private personal and financial information with the criminal who then steals from them.
The group most at risk of romance scams were found to be those over 45 years of age, according to Lloyds.
It should be noted that younger people also were revealed to be victims, with those between the ages of 18 to 24 losing an average of £2,128.
In comparison, Britons between the ages 25 to 34 lost an average of £3,193 to romance scams.
READ MORE: State pensioners may be able to increase sum by up to £14.75 weekly
Many of these scams happen on social media sites with fraudsters targeting people and using the information they have shared on their accounts against them.
One customer of the bank lost £1,400 to a romance scam after receiving messages from criminals who convinced her to part with her cash.
Julie, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was messaging back and forth with ‘Bob’ after being reached out to by him on social media.
Progressing into an online relationship, ‘Bob’ told Julie he had some money and personal items in a box that he wanted her to look after.
These items were apparently going to be delivered by his friend who was flying into the UK, however on the day of this person’s supposed arrival, the fraudster claimed they were stopped by airport security.
‘Bob’ asked Julie if she could make a payment of £1,400 to get his friend released, however she could only afford £800.
However, as she wanted to help, Julie borrowed the remaining amount of money to send him over the full £1,400.
After receiving another message from ‘Bob’ for another payment, Julie explained the situation to a family member who told her to get in touch with her bank.
Taking her family’s advice, she soon learned that she had been the victim of a romance scam and had lost £1,400 for nothing.
Liz Ziegler, the Fraud Prevention Director at Lloyds Bank, explained how victims of this type of scam lose far more than money.
Ms Ziegler said: “Romance scam victims don’t just lose thousands of pounds, they also have to deal with emotional betrayal, as callous scammers build relationships under a veil of apparent trust and care.
“Their convincing back stories mean that victims think they are falling in love, when they’re actually falling for a scam.
“There’s no genuine connection when it comes to romance scams, with fraudsters targeting multiple victims at a time, and disappearing as soon as they think they’ve got as much cash as they can.
“It’s vital that people are able to spot the warning signs. If you’ve started an online relationship and the discussion turns to money – regardless of the reason or the amounts involved – this should be a big red flag that you’re about to get scammed.
“Talking to a real life friend or family member can be a good way to check what’s going on.”
In its warning to customers, Lloyds also shared some advice to young people who are particularly prone to falling for these scams.
This includes not sending money to people you have not met before, being aware of catfishing schemes and not divulging personal details to strangers online.